The list of incidents which can spoil your holiday before it starts include noisy children kicking the backs of seats, unruly passengers, delayed flights, or long queues at check-in or customs. However, the biggest nuisance has to be lost luggage.
During 2013, SITA (who work closely with the air travel community) reported that airlines across the globe mishandled 21.8 million bags (which is almost 7 per 1,000 passengers). If you are unfortunate to be on those air passengers whose bag went missing it can be the worst possible start to your holiday.
Why Do Bags Go Missing?
There are various reasons for airlines to lose baggage but one of the main reasons is due to connecting flights which have tight connection times, allied to multiple airlines being involved . Some airports have less efficient infrastructure so that bags are not pushed around quickly enough. Baggage tags coming away from their bags are also a major hindrance to ensuring that bags are reconciled with their owners in a timely manner.
If you are unfortunate enough to lose baggage then you should report this straight away. Airline desks in the airport should be able to issue you with a PIR (property irregularity report) form. After you complete this its logged in WorldTracer, a global database which will check to see if there are any matches. You are able to monitor progress using WorldTracer yourself or by contacting the airline themselves.
What Are Your Rights?
Airlines are responsible for many expenses incurred (within reason) if they lose your baggage. If you do lose a bag then you should be reimbursed for essential items whilst awaiting the return of your bags. Of course ‘essential items’ may be a subjective definition but it should include toiletries, underwear and laundry costs. How airlines compensate you differs between airlines. Some may make an upfront payment whilst others may request receipts so its a good idea to keep these. After 21 days a missing bag can be declared ‘lost’ and in such cases the maximum payout by the airlines is €1,131 so it may worth claiming on your travel insurance policy.