7 Facts About Lost Baggage - And How To Prevent Losing Yours

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There's always a sense of relief when you see your checked baggage come down the reclaim conveyor belt, filled with all of the essentials you'll need for a successful holiday or business trip. However, your suitcase may not show up at any time, prompting a growing feeling of dread and then an anxious trip to the airline's customer service station.

Thankfully, baggage loss is less common than it once was - but that doesn't help if you’re the one whose baggage is missing.

But don't worry. Airlines have procedures for tracking lost luggage, and processes for compensating passengers if their luggage cannot be found - or if it somehow gets damaged in transit. Additionally, your travel insurer should be able to help with any losses you incur. 

Here we will cover some key pointers that you need to know about baggage loss - and tips of preventing that.

Airlines invest millions into ensuring they don't lose your luggage, and it has been paying dividends. According to Sita, the firm that provides IT services to the international baggage handling industry, "mishandled" baggage has fallen from 46.9 million items in 2007, to 24.8 million items in 2018.

While that figure may seem high, it is worth remembering that 4.36 billion travellers checked in more than 4.27 billion items in 2018.

Baggage can get lost in a variety of ways, but the most common is during a flight connection. The chances of baggage going astray increases with shorter connection times - because there is less time for the baggage handlers to retrieve your luggage from the first plane and load it onto the second. As you can imagine, a long haul journey with three flights increases the odds of losing your baggage.

Other reasons for baggage loss include:

●     Baggage getting trapped on internal conveyor belts

●     Barcode identifier (RFID) tags coming loose from baggage

●     Handlers picking up the wrong bag

●     Bags are tagged wrongly

Find your airline's customer service desk right away and report your baggage as missing.

The staff will then complete a Property Irregularity Report - which you should make a copy of. In the case of Singapore Airlines, lost baggage can be traced using the File Reference Number provided by staff.

If the airline can find your baggage they will send it to you - or you can pick it up from the airport. If your baggage cannot be located, you should then fill in the Baggage Claim Form and send it with any supporting documents to the listed email/postal address.

In the case of damaged baggage, you'll have seven days to file a report. Ideally you should contact ground staff as soon as you realise your baggage appears to have been damaged.

Losses incurred after losing your baggage may be covered by your travel insurance. Even if the airline accepts responsibility for lost baggage, they may not offer a sum that sufficiently covers your losses. They are also unlikely to cover you for consequential losses - such as delays to your itinerary caused by having to deal with your lost baggage.

For example, Allianz Travel provides up to S$ 7,000 cover for baggage loss with Platinum cover; up to S$ 5,000 with Silver; and up to S$ 3,000 with Bronze cover*.  

While the chances of losing your baggage completely are quite low, if it cannot be found (or if it remains unclaimed), it may eventually be sold off. For example, in the US, the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama buys unclaimed baggage from airlines and then sells it on.

●     Only travel with hand luggage - not practical for many, but worth a thought. 

●     Avoid trips with connecting flights - and if you do have a connecting flight, ensure the transfer time is not too short (as this is when bags often go missing)

●     Ensure your contact details are both inside and outside of your baggage: this way you'll still be contactable even if your tag has fallen off

●     Consider buying a tracking device to put in your luggage

●     To minimise the impact of lost, delayed or damaged luggage, take out comprehensive travel insurance

Find more information about  Allianz Travel Insurance here 
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All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The content of this blog neither makes representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site, nor is construed as Allianz Travel's offering of travel insurance, unless explicitly stated. Details of benefits, limits, policy exclusions, terms and conditions of Allianz Travel insurance can be found under Allianz Travel Policy Wording.
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