Checked Luggage Problems? Your Air Passenger Rights and How to Enforce Them

The first step in standing up for your Air Passenger rights is knowing what they are.

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Luggage Problems

Air travel can be hard on your luggage, with bags occasionally getting beat up or even disappearing completely. But we can help you make the right moves at the right time to get as much compensation as possible.

Damaged Luggage on US Flights

For domestic flights within the United States, here is what you should do if your bags arrive damaged:

If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

If it is not possible to report the damage before leaving the airport, you may be able to do so later, but requirements vary from one airline to another, so check your airline’s policy online.

You will probably be asked to do this if you report the damage in person, but some airlines have the forms online, as well.

Again, it is best to do so before you leave the airport, if possible. The airline will negotiate a solution with you, whether they repair the damage, replace the items, or otherwise compensate you.

There are several exceptions to what the airline will cover in terms of packed items and they may deny any responsibility at all, but if you can provide a compelling case that they are liable, it might be worth your time.

Want to know more? Explore all the details about damaged luggage on US domestic flights and learn even more about your air passenger rights.

$1,525 - $3,500

The average compensation from an airline
for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500,
under U.S. and Montreal Convention air passenger rights laws.

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Damaged Luggage on EU and International Flights

If you’re on an EU or international flight and your bags arrive damaged, here is what you should do:

If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

You have up to 7 days from the time you receive your bags to do so, but it is always best to report the issue before you leave the airport.

You will probably be asked to do this if you report the damage in person, but some airlines have the forms online, as well.

Again, it is best to do so before you leave the airport, if possible. The airline will negotiate a solution with you, whether they repair the damage, replace the items, or otherwise compensate you.

There are several exceptions to what the airline will cover in terms of packed items and they may deny any responsibility at all, but if you can provide a compelling case that they are liable, it might be worth your time.

Want to know more? Explore all the details about damaged luggage on international flights and learn even more about your air passenger rights.

$1,525 - $3,500

The average compensation from an airline
for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500,
under U.S. and Montreal Convention air passenger rights laws.

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Delayed Luggage on US Flights

If you’re on a flight within the domestic United States and your bags don’t arrive when you do, follow these steps:

If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

It’s best to do this before leaving the airport, but requirements vary from one airline to another, so check your airline’s policy online.

When you fill out the Property Irregularity Report, or PIR, you’ll also be given a file reference number for your case. Hold onto both.

Policies vary from one airline to the next, but it won’t hurt to ask. Some airlines only offer rebates via airline credit, but insist on cash, if possible. If they refuse, consider adding it to your reimbursement claim (step 7, below).

Many carriers provide tracking tools online. This should hopefully give you a decent idea of when your bags will catch up with you.

These include items like toiletries or underwear—things that were in your bags that you can’t really do without for a few days. Once you file a claim, you may be able to get reimbursed for these expenses.

This is where the receipts for those necessary items come into play. Most airlines require that your claim be made no later than 45 days from the date of your flight even if your bags haven’t arrived yet. Again, this varies from one carrier to the next, so check your airline’s policy online.

Want to know more? Explore all the details about delayed luggage on US domestic flights and learn even more about your air passenger rights.

$1,525 - $3,500

The average compensation from an airline
for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500,
under U.S. and Montreal Convention air passenger rights laws.

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Not good, guys

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Delayed Luggage on EU and International Flights

For international and EU flights, follow these steps if your bags don’t arrive when you do:

If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

It’s best to do this before leaving the airport, if possible.

When you fill out the Property Irregularity Report, or PIR, you’ll also be given a file reference number for your case. Hold onto both.

Many carriers provide tracking tools online. This should hopefully give you a decent idea of when your bags will catch up with you.

These include items like toiletries or underwear—things that were in your bags that you can’t really do without for a few days. Once you file a claim, you can get reimbursed for these expenses.

This is for reimbursement of any expenses resulting from the delay in receiving your bags, such as replacing necessary items (step 5 above). You have 21 days from the time you receive your bags to file this claim and you’ll need to provide your receipts, as well.

Want to know more? Explore all the details about delayed luggage on international flights and learn even more about your air passenger rights.

$1,525 - $3,500

The average compensation from an airline
for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500,
under U.S. and Montreal Convention air passenger rights laws.

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Not good, guys

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Lost Luggage on US Flights

For domestic flights in the United States, here’s what to do when the airlines lose your bags:

You should have received this when you filled out the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) after your bags were delayed.

These include items like toiletries or underwear—things that were in your bags that you can’t really do without for a few days. Once you file a claim, you can get reimbursed for these expenses.

Any receipts or other proof of the items will be helpful. There are several exceptions to what airlines will cover in terms of packed items, but you should be able to get reimbursed for most of the contents you can account for.

Check with your carrier to see what the deadline is for filing a lost luggage claim. Include the receipts and documents for both your replacement items and the contents of your luggage.

Want to know more? Explore all the details about lost luggage on US domestic flights and learn even more about your air passenger rights.

$1,525 - $3,500

The average compensation from an airline
for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500,
under U.S. and Montreal Convention air passenger rights laws.

Share it:

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Great, thanks!
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Not good, guys

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Lost Luggage on EU and International Flights

For passengers flying internationally or in the EU, here’s what to do when the airlines lose your bags:

You should have received this when you filled out the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) after your bags were delayed. Your bags are considered lost 21 days after they should have arrived—or earlier, if the airline admits they are lost.

These include items like toiletries or underwear—things that were in your bags that you can’t really do without for a few days. Once you file a claim, you can get reimbursed for these expenses.

Any receipts or other proof of the items will be helpful. There are several exceptions to what airlines will cover in terms of packed items, but you should be able to get reimbursed for most of the contents you can account for.

Include receipts and documents for the contents of your luggage as well as for any expenses resulting from the loss of your bags, such as replacement items.

Want to know more? Explore all the details about lost luggage on international flights and learn even more about your air passenger rights.

$1,525 - $3,500

The average compensation from an airline
for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500,
under U.S. and Montreal Convention air passenger rights laws.

Share it:

How helpful did you find this page?
Great, thanks!
It was ok
Not good, guys

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See if your flight is eligible.

Had a flight delay or other air travel problem in the last three years? Just give us your flight details and we’ll let you know if you’re owed money.

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