As with every holiday season, there are joys and woes that come with travel during the last month of the year. Despite predictions that travel could be down, the potential exists for more travelers to be in the air during the Christmas travel period than on any other given day of the season.
The result is a little bit more of everything coming towards travelers this winter season: more lines, more people aboard aircraft and more luggage being handled at airports across the United States. Because of this, there is a slightly elevated risk that holiday traveler’s luggage may get lost between their point of origin and their destination.
When this happens, smart travelers do not get upset about the circumstances. Instead, they find a way to get paid out for their inconvenience instead. Should your luggage get lost during travels, here are three ways you may be able to make the most out of a bad situation.
File a notice with the airline when luggage is lost
When luggage goes missing, the first (and most important) step is to file a notice with the airline that brought you to your destination. In the report with the carrier, travelers should note all of their flights, what their luggage looked like and where it can be delivered once discovered.
Although this may seem like a trivial first step, it is arguably the most important one – and should not be forgotten. By forgetting this step, or trusting the airline to get back to you when they find your luggage, you may not be eligible for travel insurance benefits, or a payout from the airline if they cannot recover your luggage.
Immediately notify your travel insurance provider (which may be your credit card provider)
Once travelers have filed a report with their airline, the next step is to contact your travel insurance provider. In some cases, your travel insurance provider may be the same as your credit card company. Travelers who pay with points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, or pay with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard, already have a lot of travel insurance benefits without even knowing it.
A quick call to the traveler’s assistance line can help travelers understand their benefits and what qualifies for coverage under their travel insurance benefits. Furthermore, the traveler’s assistance line can also help travelers determine what items would qualify for reimbursement, allowing them to be smart about what they purchase for reimbursement.
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Keep receipts and inventory of your luggage to file a claim
At this stage, one of two things will probably happen for the average traveler. Either they will have all of their luggage returned to them at their home or hotel, or their luggage may be lost forever. In either situation, smart travelers can still get reimbursed for their inconvenience.
For those travelers who do get their luggage back, now is the time to file a claim for lost luggage with their travel insurance provider. In their claim, be sure to submit copies of all receipts of items purchased because their luggage was lost for the minimum amount of time. As a result, travelers can receive reimbursement for their incidental costs.
In the worst case scenario where luggage is permanently lost, travelers will have to fill out another claim form with their airline. The claim will then be sent to a company the airline designates to handle such claims, which will negotiate the value of the luggage. According to law, airlines are liable for up to $3,500 in actual damages, if flyers can prove what was in their luggage when it was lost. Having documentation, including photos, can help a traveler’s cause.
Even though losing luggage can be a difficult situation, it doesn’t have to be a complete loss. By understanding your rights, every frugal traveler can still get paid when the worst happens during their holiday travel.
How have you managed lost luggage situations in the past? Let me know your ideas in the comments below!
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