Conveyor belt in airport

You may have lost your luggage, but it isn’t the end of the world. Airports and airlines have been getting better and better at returning lost luggage to its rightful owner. In fact, according to the LA Times, around 97% of all luggage lost is returned, often within two days of being lost. Therefore, take a deep breath and relax, just follow these steps and you’ll be able to get your luggage back quickly and safely.

First, file a claim as quickly as you can. The sooner the claim is filed the sooner the airline will know about the problem and begin looking for your bag. Some airlines also have filing deadlines, and you don’t want to accidently miss the deadline by waiting to file a claim. If possible, file a claim before you leave the airport. Look for a representative of the airline you were traveling on and ask them for help in filing a claim. Otherwise, you will have to call the airline or go online to make a claim. Having your baggage claim ticket is helpful at this stage so make sure you hold on to it. Once the report is filed, you should have some means of getting updates on the status of your lost luggage. You will probably be given a tracking number you can use to follow your bag online. Some airlines do not offer this service and will instead give you a phone number you can call for updates.

Second, stay calm. Becoming angry and distressed about the situation will do nothing to help get your lost luggage back. Remember, when you are talking on the phone or in person with an airline representative, it’s not their fault that your luggage was lost and there is very little they can do in the moment to help you. Yelling at them and becoming angry will just make their job harder and make them less willing to help you. Since the representative will just be focused on getting through the process quickly and not doing a thorough job, you might inadvertently hurt your chances of getting your luggage back. Things will go much more smoothly for everyone involved if you keep your cool.

Third, it doesn’t matter to airlines if you have a lot of valuables in your luggage or just a bunch of clothes. In most cases, talking about why you need your bag or what was in it will not help you get it back any faster. Airlines may ask you for a list of contents in your bag to help identify it, but just because there were valuables in your luggage does not mean they will return your luggage any quicker. On the off chance your luggage never turns up, you might want to consider filing for compensation from the airline. Airlines are usually required by law to offer some sort of monetary compensation for lost or delayed luggage. Although there is a limit on how much airlines are liable for, the sums paid out can sometimes total in the thousands of dollars.

Losing your luggage is always a headache. Lost luggage can ruin a perfectly good vacation, especially if there were important valuables, documents, or sentimental items in the bags. For many, their luggage is returned within a day or two, but for some, the process can take days or weeks. So long as you move quickly, stay calm, frequently ask the airline for updates, and don’t give up, odds are that your luggage will turn up.

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