Airlines Lost Your Bags? Here’s What To Do

One of the most dreaded things that can happen when you travel is that your bags get lost. Airlines waste your time and cause you frustration at the already stressful time of traveling.

The bright side is, if you play your cards right, you can go up to the counter or make a phone call to complain to the right person, and you can get your money back.

Here, we let you in on the rules of what to do when an airline loses your bags.

lost luggage

The key piece of knowledge to be aware of is a rule that the Department of Transportation put forth.

If your bags are delayed, damaged, or straight up lost, the airlines legally have to compensate you, with a maximum payback of $3500.

The way it works is that if your hairdryer (or any item) was in a bag that was delayed or lost, you can buy one to replace it, and the airline will reimburse you.

angry airport

Don’t try and scam the system, though. They have some rules of their own. You need to file a claim, with receipts for everything you buy. So it is not the same as being handed cash.

They will only accept your claim if the things you purchased are within reason- like a replacement hairdryer, not unrelated, expensive luxury items.


Since the airlines don’t want to pay out the big bucks, they make it very hard for you to file a claim. Pay attention to the rules of each airline.

Some need you to notify an airline representative while still at the airport- if you leave the premises and call, they can simply refuse your claim.

Certain companies do actually make it easier for you if they really mess up; they reimburse you no matter what, without a claim, if your bags are missing for more than three days.

Although it is stressful to lose your bag, knowing how you can get paid for your troubles will hopefully ease some of your annoyance. Bon voyage!