Lost Luggage: How to Deal with it and How to Prevent It

Lost luggage can put a damper on the holiday season. Unfortunately, lost luggage rates surge around this time of year. Between an upshot in air traffic and ongoing labor shortages, mistakes happen. 

If you arrive at your destination but your luggage does not, don’t worry. This article will guide you through the steps you need to reunite with your stuff. At the end, you’ll find tips on preventing this from happening this year — and every holiday season to come. 

What to Do if This Happens to You

You wait at the luggage claim area long enough that the next flight’s bags start showing up on the conveyor belt. It’s official: your luggage is lost. 

Your first step in righting this wrong is alerting the right authorities:

  • File a lost luggage report with the airline. 
  • Alert your travel insurance provider if you took out a policy.
  • Check to see if your credit card offers lost luggage coverage.

Letting the airline know will help you reunite with your bags, assuming they aren’t lost. It also sets in motion the right paperwork for compensation if they can’t locate your stuff.

The other two options can help you cover the cost of replacing the items in your bags. However, getting this money depends on how quickly the airline processes your lost luggage claim, which may take up to 14 days. 

Two weeks is a long time to go without essentials like a change of clothes, toiletries, or medication. In an emergency, you might consider getting a line of credit or installment loan to bridge the gap. You can check out your options on the go by focusing on online loans. Virtual lenders make it easy to rate shop and apply wherever you get Wi-Fi. 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Lost Luggage

Between the airline, insurance, and an online loan, you will find a way to get your luggage back. At the very least, you can finance replacing all your stuff. 

But wouldn’t it be great if you could skip the paperwork? You might reduce the chances of dealing with lost luggage (again or for the first time) by following the tips below. 

  • Travel with just a carry-on. While this might be tricky, learning how to pick a minimal wardrobe and pack like a pro will make it easier. This way, you don’t have any luggage to lose.
  • Pack your carry-on with the essentials. Sometimes, you can’t fit everything into a carry-on. In these situations, you need to make sure you keep your toiletries, medication, and a few changes of clothes in your carry-on, just in case. Basically, stock up on anything you need to survive 48 hours with this bag. 
  • Remove any old airline tags from your luggage. Airline employees can accidentally scan these stickers, which can confuse their system. 
  • Remove straps and other hooks from your stuff. These loose items can catch on sorting machinery and delay luggage arrival. 
  • Avoid being late. Checking in at the last minute might cause the airline staff to rush through processing your stuff. And like anyone under pressure, they can make mistakes. 

The Takeaway: 

Losing your stuff isn’t out of the realm of possibility, so prepare for it in advance. There’s no harm in following these tips.

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