If you travel frequently, it is expected to have some periodic hiccups. The most frequent problem is the fact that your bag arrives at the airport at a different time than you do. But this might seem a minor inconvenience compared to the situation when your luggage is ruined.
the airline is responsible for protecting your checked luggage, while you can take some other prevention measures in order to prepare for a good flight. No matter your level of prevention, there are mishaps that could happen and some things are out of your control. You should know you’re not helpless in case the airline damages your luggage.
Notify the airline immediately
Inspect your bag as soon as you receive it. Look for signs of damage before you leave the baggage claim area. As most airlines require in-person notification, it’s easier to notify the airline at the airport immediately.
Try following these steps if you notice abnormal damages:
- Photograph the damage on your luggage
- Photograph the luggage barcode tags
- Make a list with the damaged items
- Try to find the cause of the damage
You will need all the information listed above for the initial conversation with the airline. Why it is important to take all these steps into consideration? If you notice additional damage after the initial report (like in the inside of the bag), the airline likely won’t let you file a second claim. It is possible for the airline representative to add notes to your claim for further consideration, but will vary by airline.
Speak to an airline baggage service representative
Your first course of action is speaking to an airline baggage service representative immediately to avoid a follow-up trip to the airport after inspecting your bag and logging the damage. If you notify the airline by phone, they will likely require you to bring your damaged bag to the in-airport baggage service office.
Go to the check-in counter to start the claim process if you have already left the airport.
You will receive a claim number and you will be required to complete paperwork. You may receive the paperwork by e-mail. If this is the case, you can expedite the claims process as soon as possible.
Keep all damaged items
The airline may decide to repair or replace your damaged items if you ship your items offer. If your item is new enough it’s possible that you can get an exact replacement. The airline may require you to mail your bag to a facility to be repaired depending on the damage and final outcome.
It’s not a bad idea to brush up on the airline’s damaged bag policy while your claim is pending. Look for the coverage limits and the qualifying events. U.S. airlines are liable for up to $3,500 in damages on domestic flights according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
A credit card baggage insurance may come in handy when you encounter this kind of situation. The best credit cards cover up to $3,000 per person. Some policies may also reimburse lost jewelry, electronics, and even lost or delayed luggage. These benefits may extend to your immediate family traveling with you as well.
Have a safe trip, without unexpected situations!