FAQ Friday: What are my rights if my luggage is lost or delayed?

July 29, 2022

On the last Friday of every month, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from the hundreds of consumers who contact us. This month, we explain your consumer rights and the options available to you if your luggage is lost or delayed at an airport.

Who is responsible if I my luggage is lost?

If you are travelling to or from an airport within the EU, or with a European airline, you have consumer rights if something goes wrong. Under the Montreal Convention, once you check-in a piece of luggage, the airline is responsible for it arriving at your destination. The airline is also responsible if something happens to it. This means if your luggage is lost (i.e. has not been located within 21 days), you are entitled to claim compensation from your airline. But, it’s important to note that there may be limits to the amount of compensation you can claim, so it’s important to check this with your airline.

Top Tip

If you find that your luggage was damaged during your flight, you have seven days to claim compensation. But if you notice the damage at the airport, you should submit your claim before you leave, as the airline may want to inspect your luggage.

What should I do if my luggage is delayed?

If your luggage is delayed, or cannot be located at the airport, you should let your airline know straight away. Each airline may have a different process in place for reporting missing luggage. For example, you may be able to report missing luggage in-person at an information desk in the airport, or you may be asked to complete a form online. If you’re unsure, contact them directly to confirm your next steps.

In most cases, the airline will ask you to complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). This report will ask you for the colour, size and shape of your luggage and helps to track it. You should ask your airline for a copy of the PIR for your own records. If you need to buy new clothes or toiletries as a result of delayed luggage, keep the receipts as you may be able to claim money back from your airline.

Top Tip

Make a note of your luggage tag number after check-in, as you may need this if your luggage goes missing. Keep your boarding card and booking confirmation as you may need them when filling out a compensation claim.

What options do I have if I’m unhappy with the airline’s response?

If you are unhappy with your airline’s response to a compensation claim, your next step should be to follow the airline’s own complaints process. After doing this, if your complaint still isn’t resolved and if your claim is for €2,000 or less, you can use the Small Claims Court procedure. Alternatively, you may want to seek independent legal advice.

Will my travel insurance policy cover me?

Your travel insurance may cover lost or delayed luggage, but this will depend on the details of your policy. If you bought travel insurance to cover your holiday, contact your provider as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Do I have the same rights outside of the EU?

If you travel outside the EU, or with an airline that is not based in the EU, you do not have the same rights. In these cases, you should check the terms and conditions of your flight booking for details of what you are entitled to if your luggage is lost or delayed.

For more information on your consumer rights when traveling, visit ccpc.ie/travel.

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