When you pick up your baggage from the airlines, you are usually tired and grateful to be at your destination. Most people don’t look over their bags to make sure they’re OK. Then, when they go to unpack they find something missing or torn. Unfortunately the airlines loathe taking responsibility for what they do to your bags, even though we have all watched the handlers toss our bags around and wonder why they don’t all spill open on the tarmac.
The most important thing about putting in a claim for a damaged bag is to know the game before you need to know it. The airlines will spout policy to you, if you accept that you will get nowhere. Remember, you do have the right to say, “”No, that is not acceptable.””
Know what to expect:
- All airlines expect that you file a claim while you are still at the airport (no matter what time of day or night it is).
- There is not always someone available to take your claim at the airport.
- Most airlines allow up to 24 hours to file a claim, but you often are required to come into the airport.
- International travelers usually have 7 days to file a claim.
- Know your airline’s policy! US Airways, for example only allows 4 hours to file a claim.
The “”customer service”” agent is not always helpful in these matters. With the financial state of the airlines these days their policies have gotten stricter. Therefore it can be harder to get them to take responsibility.
Work the system:
- Let them know if you’re a frequent flier- the airline may be more inclined to help
- Write a letter, or a few letters if necessary to as many contacts as you can find
- If you fly often, use any connections you’ve made and talk face to face to someone who can help you
- Take photos of your luggage and items before you travel.
- Find the original receipts. If you purchased the item online, you probably still have it in your inbox. But expect depreciation to be taken into account.
- Buy Travel insurance; also some credit card companies will insure your trip if you used your card to purchase tickets.
- Get a repair estimate. You can go to a reputable luggage retailer, or some shoe repair shops also fix luggage.
Baggage Claim Policies/Contact:
- US Airways: Claim must be filed within 4 hours.
- Delta Airlines: Claim must be filed within 24 Hours at the airport. See details.
- British Airways: File a written report within 7 days. See details.
- Continental Airlines: Damage or loss must be reported immediately. See details.
- United Airlines: Claim must be reported within 24 hours.
- Airtran Airways: Claims must be submitted before leaving the airport.See details.
- NorthWest Airlines: Claims must be submitted within 24 hours.See details.
Not everyone is so forthcoming about their policies, so see your airline for details and always check for damage before you leave the airport.
In addition, if you’re looking for a fast replacement luggage piece. Rememeber to go to http://www.luggageonline.com for fast shipping.