Citizens Advice: What to do if your luggage goes missing or is delayed

Citizen Advice North Herts gives information if your luggage goes missing or delayed

Citizen Advice North Herts gives information if your luggage goes missing or delayed - Credit: Citizen Advice North Herts

You’ve just arrived at your much longed for holiday destination only to find your luggage has gone missing! What do you do? 

It’s best to act quickly and report the problem to the airline straight away, there are usually deadlines for claiming so it’s best to check as soon as you can.

If you have travel insurance or home contents insurance that covers luggage, you may find you would be better off making an insurance claim instead. You’ll possibly get more money and find it easier to claim this way.

What you can get from the airline is usually limited to money for basic essentials and part of the cost of replacing or repairing lost luggage and contents.

Keep any receipts and remember, there are limits on what they will pay. However, if you have to collect delayed luggage yourself it’s worth asking if the airline will pay for transport costs.

Even after you’ve reported it to the airline, you will still have to make a claim for compensation unless the airline decides to pay you upfront.

Keep copies of any written confirmation that you reported the problem and ask the airline what documents you’ll need to support your claim, for example your boarding card, luggage labels (the bar codes will help identify your luggage), receipts etc.

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If your luggage is delayed or missing, the airline has 21 days to find it and get it to you, but even if you do get your luggage back within that time, you can still claim compensation for the delay.

Ask the airline how they want you to send your claim. If they don’t have a claim form, you’ll probably have to write a letter to the airline’s customer service department.

In your letter, say you’re “claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention” - this will show the airline that you know your rights! Also, make sure your letter includes as much detail as possible, flight numbers, dates, copies of documents, descriptions of items lost or damaged etc.

Keep a copy of your claim and any original documents - you’ll need these if you’re not happy with the airline’s response and you want to take your claim further by complaining to the CAA using the form on their website.

For further advice contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.