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I've arrived in NYC but my bag hasn't!

As exciting as international travel can be, there is something that most of us think about right before we board our flights – “Will my baggage arrive with me?”.

And you’re not alone if you fear that your airline might lose your luggage.

The latest SITA Baggage Report shows us that 23.1 million bags were mishandled in 2015, that’s 6.5 bags lost per 1000 passengers. And although airlines are doing their best to decrease these numbers with new technology and procedures, it’s still a hefty number of lost bags to comprehend.

Airlines lose or mishandle baggage for a number of reasons:

  • The barcode for your destination might have been printed illegibly or incorrectly
  • Your bag has missed its connecting flight or transfer point
  • You’ve taken too long to get your bag off the collection carousel
  • Your bag has been loaded onto the wrong plane, or any other possible human handling error
  • You bag has been stolen

What to do on the ground

If your luggage is not appearing on the collection carousel you’ll need to go to the appropriate lost luggage department at the airport. File your claim and ask for a copy of the report, including a reference number. Also ensure to provide them with an address for delivery of your luggage in case it shows up, as well as contact details and number. Make sure to get a phone number you can call to check on your bags status with the airline too.

If your bags appear to have been stolen you may be referred to the police. If this is the case, ensure to get a police report number.

Any receipts for purchases of toiletries or clothing whilst you’re stranded with no luggage should be kept for later claims if you took out travel insurance.

Lodging a lost luggage insurance claim

After your bag is reported missing, your airline will make attempts to locate it. If it cannot do so, it will be part of their policy to repay you some expenses. Keep in mind this reimbursement for loss will have a limit, which is usually found on the back of your ticket.

Having travel insurance in place means that no matter the limit which the airline has set for compensation, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your cover can meet the shortfall between this limit and what your baggage was actually worth.

All you’ll need to do if you have a policy with CGU is give us a call with details of your original report at the airport, and any proof of ownership you have of your luggage such as receipts. Once reported, an allocated case manager will talk you through the next steps and keep you updated of progress. You can lodge a claim at any time 24/7 and whilst overseas.

For travel insurance assistance:
While overseas: +61 2 8895 0698
Within Australia: (02) 8895 0698

Final tips for preventing baggage loss

Before you head off, make sure to label your bags clearly with an address and phone number where you can be contacted. Secure this label outside and inside your bag in case the exterior label tears off. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of the inside of your bag before you travel in case you need to make a claim for any lost items.

Always double check your connection tags once the airline has stuck them on your bag in case of an error. And of course, because not everything is within our control, ensure you have adequate travel insurance to cover you in case of luggage loss, damage, or theft.

For more information about international travel insurance, contact CGU today.