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Lost luggage still a problem for airlines

Some of the best known national airlines still languish at the bottom of the latest ‘lost bags’ league table produced by the Association of European Airlines. Iberia has emerged as the European airline most likely to lose a passenger’s luggage though the airline blames this on a period of heavy snow in January of this year and an industrial ‘work to rule.’ Air France came next worst in the survey followed by the Portuguese carrier, TAP. British Airways, which once used to languish at the bottom of the performance table continued to reap the benefits of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 which, after a disastrous opening, has been functioning well.  Even so, BA have more work to do as their tally of 15 missing bags per 1000 passengers is a long way off from Virgin who fared better at 5 bags lost per 1000 passengers flown.

Whatever the reason, it shows that none of us can safely say these days that it won’t happen to me. Losing a bag can be a distressing experience, made worse by the generally poor customer service at some airport’s lost luggage counters and, if it happens on the outward journey, what do you do? Do you make do with the clothing you have in the hope that the luggage will arrive or buy replacements? Tough decision to make and is all very stressful at a time when you should be enjoying your holiday? There is no magic wand to wave here but you can help yourself by being adequately protected by having travel insurance cover in place before you go.

What travel insurance should provide in these circumstances is an allowance, usually based on each 24 hours the luggage is delayed, for you to buy essential replacement items, such as clothing and toiletries, for you to survive until your bags arrive. There will be an upper limit to this daily allowance and your travel insurance company will be looking for receipts for these items to accompany any claim you make. This still requires you to pay first and claim back later but at least it means you won’t be too much out of pocket.

Do remember to obtain what the airlines call a ‘Property Irregularity Report’ from the Lost Luggage Section at the airport at the time your bags go missing. You will need to send this to your travel insurance company to substantiate your claim and they will also be looking for proof of when the bags were returned to you, so a signed and dated receipt will also be expected. If you don’t have these, then it is very possible that the insurers will not pay your claim. If your bags become ‘irretrievably’ lost, then the insurance company will need a letter from the airline confirming this and you will then be able to claim for all the lost items under the Lost Baggage Section of your policy. But don’t let the thought of losing your luggage overly worry you. Just get the required paperwork, know what you can claim for and get on with your holiday.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

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