The Clever Travel Companion Updates

What do you do if your luggage is lost, delayed or damaged? October 02 2017, 0 Comments

If your luggage is delayed, goes missing or gets damaged on a flight, what sort of compensation are you entitled to? The Montreal Convention makes airlines responsible for the bags they allow you to check in, although their liability is limited to only around $1,500 per passenger.

Act immediately 

Airlines are more likely to accept responsibility for missing or damaged luggage if you report the problem straightaway. Before leaving the luggage reclaim hall, go to the airline desk.

Fill out a form

you’ll be given a copy of the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) that’s used by airline staff to record the details. While this isn’t a legal requirement, and there maybe a reason why it’s not possible to get one (an unmanned desk at a small airport, for example) you’re still entitled to claim. But without a PIR, the process is likely to be more of an uphill battle.

If the bag is damaged

If you want to claim compensation, write to the airline within seven days of receiving your luggage, enclosing a copy of the PIR.

If the bag is missing

As well as personal and flight details, you’ll need to give an accurate description of a missing bag, recording any distinguishing features. A good tip (for the highly organised) is to keep a photo of your luggage on your phone in case you ever need to make this sort of report. Photographic evidence can also help if you are reporting damaged luggage. 

Observe the deadlines

Write to the airline, enclosing the a copy of the PIR, within seven days of the flight. If your luggage turns up a day or two late, it’s up to the airline to make arrangements for getting it to you as efficiently as possible.

Monitor progress

where luggage doesn’t show up, you should be able to monitor it through the tracing procedure, either by contacting baggage services at the airport, the airline’s central department or by logging into an online baggage-tracing page with a reference number. This reference will relate to the luggage receipt usually attached to your passport or boarding card at check-in or bag-drop, so you’ll need to keep it to hand. If there’s no sign of it after three weeks, the bag will be declared lost.

Check the rules

If your bag has gone missing on the outward flight and you find you’re on holiday with no possessions, airlines are obliged to cover costs of “essential items”. However, this definition can be a sticking point when it comes to compensation. Depending on the attitude of the airline, it may argue that “essential items” are classified as toiletries, underwear or laundry costs rather than a brand new outfit. In most cases the airline will track down your bag quickly and return it to you within a couple of days.

Make a claim

Ask the airline what its policy is and keep receipts for anything you buy. A potential complication is when your bag has been transferred to another one or two airlines within a single journey. In this case it makes sense to claim from the last one flown, as it’s this airline which usually handles the claim.

Compensation usually comes in the form of an upfront cash payment, a fixed daily budget or remittance once your claim and receipts have been submitted. A claim for a delayed bag must be sent to the airline’s customer relations department within 21 days of handing your luggage to the airline. Depending on various factors such as how complicated your claim is, and the time of year, it may take as long as a couple of months to process.

To claim compensation for missing bag, you must write to the airline within seven days of the luggage being declared lost.

Check your insurance policy

However, you’re likely to find the airline tries to pass the buck by suggesting you take the issue of compensation up with your travel insurer. Depending on your policy, you may get a higher level of cover this way. Be sure to check your insurer’s excess charge and small print first - some policies provide minimal or no cover for luggage while in the care of an airline.

This article originally appeared in the telegraph.co.uk


Making Sense Out Of Luggage Insurance Offers January 12 2016, 0 Comments

Luggage insurance offers.. Where do I start??

According to United States law, an airline is required to provide up to $3,300 worth of compensation if a customer's bag is damaged or lost during their travels. What many passengers don't know is that this regulation is only in place to protect domestic travelers. If a bag is lost or damaged during an international flight, the owner is only entitled to the compensation of $9.07 per pound for bags they've checked. 

 

Damaged Airline Luggage

Considering this only adds up to $450 (in the case of a 50 pound bag, many airlines' limit for checked baggage), this is not nearly enough. For those traveling with expensive luggage, such as designer clothing, formal wear, or expensive jewelry, neither $3,000 nor $450 is enough to compensate. 

Many international travelers are unaware of excess valuation. No airline or airline employee is ever going to stop to explain this concept to you, as it could potentially their company money. If you claim excess valuation prior to your flight, an airline is required to provide an additional $1,700 compensation, on top of the mandated $3,300.

Declaring excess value does come at an increased cost for the consumer, depending on which airline you choose. An airline typically charges $10 for every thousands of coverage you purchase. Some airlines, however, may only cover you if the bags are completely lost and the content within them is completely lost. Damages to the actual luggage may not be covered.

Lost luggage at airport baggage claim

For international flights, there are a few airlines that allow travelers to purchase excess valuation coverage. But, many of them are purposefully vague and do not readily provide information on their websites. This means you will have to ask the information desk once you arrive at the airport. It is important to realize that an airline will change their rules at the drop of a hat, so be sure to confirm your excess valuation agreement before taking off.

Be sure to keep receipts for any items that you may need to file a claim for. An airline's main responsibility during a lost or damaged luggage claim is to try and limit their payout. Therefore, they will do their best to diminish the value of your items. If you do not buy close attention to the coverage you purchase, certain important item categories may be excluded, such as valuables or fragile. 

In the case of trips that require the use of multiple airlines, it is important to remember that once you switch planes, your excess valuation coverage lapses. You will need to claim your bag and pay a second fee with the second airline.

Purchasing travel insurance may seem like a prudent choice, but their coverage is also very limited. Many of these travel insurance policies only pay out up to $1,500 and in several instances, even less than that. Avoid these hassles and declare excess valuation. It's the smartest move for you and your valuable luggage. 

Travel Insurance


Lost, Delayed And Damaged Luggage - Tips You Need To Know Before You Fly October 22 2015, 0 Comments

There's not much worse when traveling than having your luggage lost or damaged on what is supposed to be a wonderful vacation. It does happen that luggage gets stolen or tampered within transit. It is not often we hear of travelers having their luggage lost, stolen or opened, but we often hear of luggage being accidentally damaged. Most airline employees are not dishonest, so theft is not frequent, but many airport employes, maybe due to long hours and hard working environments, can be quite careless when handling luggage, tossing it about, dropping bags and such. Here are some tips that can help you prevent lost or stolen luggage or at least minimize the trouble you will face.

Keep Valuable Items On You

It's important to remember that luggage is designed to specifically carry clothing. Packing an item that's of high value or irreplaceable isn't the smartest thing to do. If you must bring valuable belongings, such as a laptop or jewelry, it's best to keep them in your carry-on. 

Don't Place Urgent Items in Your Check Luggage

Items that you might need within 24 hours of checking your luggage (like prescriptions) should be packed in your carry-on, especially if it's for something severe. 

Fly Non-stop

Whenever it's possible, fly non-stop. And always arrive early. Airlines recommend that passengers check in as early as 2 hours to ensure their luggage has the appropriate amount of time to properly be placed on board.

Attach Contact Information

Using a sturdy luggage tag, make an effort to list all of your contact information such as your name, address, and cell phone number. And in case your luggage has to be opened to determine where you're going, put in a copy of your itinerary. 

Use TSA Locks

TSA locks have a special override tool. You and the TSA will be the only ones who have access to the inside of your luggage. If you're using Non-TSA locks, they can easily be cut by anyone. 

Ship Your Luggage

Shipping your luggage ahead of time can save you a mass amount of time, especially if you're someone who tends to be late. You won't have to worry about checking your luggage or paying the extra fees that come with bringing them with you on your flight.

Take Photos

Taking a picture of your bag before checking it will make the entire process easier if you need to make a damage or loss claim.

Check Your Belongings

Once you've reclaimed your luggage at your final destination, always check it be for you leave baggage claim. You might be in a rush, but make the time anyway. Make sure nothing is missing. 

Fly Safely and Fly Smart

Flying doesn't always have to result in lost luggage. It can easily be prevented by following the advice listed above. Never place valuable items in your bag unless it's in one that's being carried on with you during the flight. And always be prepared if something does happen to your luggage to make a damage or loss claim.