Lost luggage – where has your suitcase been without you?

Anyone who has ever waited at the luggage carousel only to slowly realise their baggage is not coming knows the annoyance and inconvenience it causes.

If you’re on the outbound leg of your journey, you can end up spending your holiday money on temporary toiletries and t-shirts while worrying if your original bag will ever make it to you.

So what happens if you catch your connecting flight but your baggage doesn’t?

When you complain at the service desk, airport staff will attempt to electronically locate your luggage with the tag put on it when you check it in, and arrange for it to be forwarded to your location.

UK airlines have 21 days to track your bag before it is considered “irretrievably lost”. If this happens you can make a claim for compensation from the airline.

How often does it happen?

Research from SITA, who make the World Tracer System, found that there were 24.1 million mishandled (lost and temporarily mislaid) bags in 2014. That’s around 7 bags per 1,000 passengers.

Based on statistics from 2013, 49% of those 24.1 million bags got mixed up because of “transfer mishandling” when the owners made connecting flights, 15% because of “failure to load”, 15% due to a “ticketing error” and the rest a mixture of loading errors, weight restrictions and other miscellany.

According to the Association of European Airlines, 85% of bags reported as lost are returned to their owners within 48 hours, meaning they have been “misdirected”, rather than lost.

What happens to lost luggage which never gets claimed?

Airports store unclaimed luggage items for the legally-required 90 days before they get auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity.

According to Gatwick, roughly 85% of “high value” items like laptops and cameras are returned to their owners.

 

If your suitcase goes walkabout and never comes home, you could be protected with the right Travel Insurance from Shene Insurance.