What Happens If Airlines Loses Your Luggage?

Finding your luggage missing at the airport is a complete nightmare!

Knowing what to do and what you are entitled to get is very important if you ever find yourself in such a pickle. And today, I will share with you the much-needed knowledge about what to do if your luggage is lost at the airport

What To Do When Airlines Lose Your Luggage During Departure?

I have been miserable during one of my trips when the airline lost my luggage at the airport. If you ever find yourself in such a position, the first thing you must remember is not to panic. Your baggage might be missing because of two main reasons. 

Either it was never sent to the flight you were boarding, or it got left at the departure airport. If the airport personnel finds anything suspicious in your luggage or mistakenly puts an incorrect label, your luggage may end up in the wrong place. 

As I have mentioned, maintaining calm is very important at this point. Have a glass of water and ask an airline representative for help. They will direct you to the lost luggage desk or the “Lost and Found” section that is present in some airports. And here, you must file a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). 

Lost Luggage Desk To Your Rescue

On reaching the desk, you will be asked to fill out the form with details of your luggage and your contact information. 

Airlines can track luggage (misplaced ones, too), and you get yours back within a few hours. However, if your bags have been mistakenly flown to a different airport, it might be a few days before you get them back. 

Most airlines offer compensation when this happens, and I will come to that later in this guide!

Losing Luggage At Arrival Airport

Honestly, it is not the fault of the airlines every time. 

And you might absent-mindedly leave your belongings behind when you go for a quick round to the restroom or stop for a bite. 

At times, another passenger may take your luggage by mistake, especially if theirs looks exactly like yours. In such cases, you will have to take help from the Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) or the Airport Authority of India(AAI) websites. 

Track Through CISF Website

At every commercial airport in India, CISF is in charge of security and can help you locate your lost luggage. 

You must visit their website to track your luggage and head to the “Lost and Found” section. So if you are wondering what to do if your luggage is lost at the airport, here’s what you need to do:

First and foremost, visit the CISF website and click on the “Lost and Found” tab, which you will see on the screen’s lower right-hand corner. On doing that, a new page will open, and you must select your airport from the drop-down list. 

Once you have selected the airport where you lost your luggage, put in your travel date, and press enter, you will see a list of lost and found items and the necessary contact details to collect them. 

Track Through AAI Website

Like the CISF website, even AAI has a dedicated website that enables fliers to track lost luggage. Here too, you will have to select the airport you were flying from and your travel date. 

On putting in the details, you will receive a list of lost items retrieved at the airport that day. If you notice your luggage, note down the item code and contact them using the contact information available on the website.

Claim Your Lost Luggage

Once you have completed all these steps and found your lost baggage, it is time to go and claim it. However, you must carry a few necessary documents to prove it is your luggage. Find the complete list here:

  • Copy of flight ticket/ boarding pass
  • Copy of Adhaar card/passport ( Any identification card issued by the government of India)
  • List of items you are claiming

If you cannot visit the airport, you can authorize another person who can claim the luggage on your behalf. But make sure they have all the requisite documents that I stated above. 

Ask For Compensation

When you realize your missing luggage, ensure you do not leave the airport without filing a report. This will help the airline to start looking for it immediately. And if they cannot find it, they will provide some compensation. 

If you are traveling on an Air India flight, and your luggage takes more than 24 hours to arrive, you will receive a reimbursement. The amount stands at approximately ₹4800 if you are traveling internationally. And for domestic fliers, the compensation amount is ​​₹3000. 

However, if your luggage gets transferred within a day, you will receive a reimbursement of a maximum of ₹2000. 

Things are a bit different when you are flying IndiGo. You can receive significant compensation if you opt for their baggage protection service (which comes at a minimal fee).

If the airline cannot locate your luggage even after 96 hours of your filing the report, you will receive compensation of ₹19,000 (for domestic travelers) and ₹66,000 (for international travelers).

Safe Practices To Keep Your Luggage Safe

I hope I have been able to answer your question: “what to do if the airline loses your luggage? Always avoid carrying precious jewelry, essential documents, and money in your checked baggage. 

Even if the airline successfully returns your lost luggage, know that all perishable items will be damaged when you get them back. 

It is best to avoid items in checked baggage that are invaluable, like works of art, family heirlooms, manuscripts, and so on. There is no need to take the risk, and you can always carry them with you in the cabin itself. 

Final Words

Many people are victims of lost luggage every year, and I get the question-” what happens if an airline loses your luggage?” a lot from readers. 

I hope this comprehensive guide has been of help. However, you must note that every airport and airline has specific rules, and you must enquire about them when looking for lost baggage. 

Keep your calm, file a report, and in no time will you receive your luggage!