Delayed, lost, or damaged luggage

Apart from the issue of damages for incorrectly operated flights (delayed flights, canceled flights, downgraded travel class, etc.) there is another no less important opportunity for compensation that concerns the transport of luggage. How to proceed in the event of delayed luggage, and what are the rights of the passenger in the event of luggage damaged or lost by the air carrier?

Montreal Convention

The fundamental difference between compensation for delayed or canceled flights and luggage is the fact that compensation for delay, damage, or loss of luggage is governed by the Montreal Convention, unlike incorrectly operated flights, which are subject either to European Regulation (261/2004) or the terms and conditions of the airlines. This has its specific features and there are key differences when it comes to obtaining compensation.

Features of the Montreal Convention

The advantage of the Montreal Convention and its validity. Unlike the EU Regulation, it is not limited by territory, in other words, any compensation applicable to luggage may be obtained from any flight in the world. On the other hand, any compensation obtained for delayed, damaged, or lost luggage is subject to strict time limits and must be documented with receipts. Compared to compensation for delayed flights (maximum amount of EUR 600), for luggage the maximum amount of compensation can be up to EUR 1220.

Damaged luggage

In the event that the air carrier damages your luggage, you will be entitled to repair free of charge, payment of costs for repair (if you have your luggage repaired at your own cost) or you are entitled to new luggage in the same price category as your damaged or lost luggage. In order to claim your compensation, you must take the following steps:

  • Report the damaged luggage to the air carrier right at the airport to a representative of the airline, or at counters marked BAGGAGE CLAIM, BAGGAGE HANDLING DESK, BAGGAGE SERVICE
  • Write a protocol about the damage, or DAMAGE PROPERTY REPORT
  • To write this protocol you will need your baggage claim ticket, your airline ticket, or your boarding pass.

The representative of the airline or baggage claim desk should give you information about your next steps. If you discover the damage only after departing the airport, most airlines will allow you to report it with photo documentation within 7 days of the date of your flight, when the event was to have taken place. CAUTION! Each company handles this according to their general terms and conditions and the options in this sense may differ. For this reason we recommend that you report damage right at the airport.

Our tip:

When compiling the report at the airport or, if you are having your luggage repaired, before handing it over, carefully photograph to damaged places and overall appearance of the luggage.

Delayed or lost luggage

If you’re missing your luggage after arrival, the first phase will be considered delayed luggage. This status may persist for up to 21 days of the date of your flight. If the airline does not deliver your luggage within 21 days, then the status will change from delayed to lost. During the course of this period, there is nothing you can do but count on the airline finding and delivering your luggage. In order for this to take place in the shortest possible timeframe, you must do the following:

  • Report the missing luggage to the air carrier right at the airport to a representative of the airline, or at counters marked BAGGAGE CLAIM, BAGGAGE HANDLING DESK, BAGGAGE SERVICE
  • Write a protocol about the non-delivery, or a PROPERTY IRREGULATIRY REPORT (PIR), and include the location where you will be reachable in the next 21 days, or the place the airline is to deliver your luggage.
  • To write this protocol you will need your baggage claim ticket, your airline ticket, or your boarding pass.
Card PIR report

PIR report

Possible compensation for delayed luggage

For the time that you are without your luggage and with no access to your things, you have the option of buying necessary items at your own cost while you are waiting , for the airline to deliver your luggage. Necessary items are defined as anything that is:

  • defensible and rational in terms of price
  • associated with the purpose of your trip. These can include, for example, hygienic supplies, basic clothing, medications, diapers for babies, bathing suits for stays at the sea, etc.

For later claims for reimbursement, you will need to keep all receipts and your boarding pass.

CAUTION! This applies only to destinations outside the territory where you have your permanent residence. At your home destination you are presumed to be able to gain access to your things as part of your residence. Any compensation obtained for costs in your home destination are very difficult.

After the return of your luggage, however, you can get back up to EUR 1220 of the costs you incurred at the time you did not have access to your luggage. You must lodge this claim no more than 21 days of delivery of your luggage. If you don’t make it in time, your claim will not be acknowledged.

This is one of the fundamental differences in claiming compensation for luggage when compared to compensation for improperly operated flights. In the context of luggage this concerns only compensation of damages incurred or compensation of necessary costs expended to wait out the time without your luggage. There is no compensation specified on the basis of distance or length of delay, as in the case of a delayed or canceled flight. In practice this means that if your luggage arrives, for example, a day late, you will not have incurred any claim for compensation due to delayed delivery.

Possible compensation for lost luggage

If the air carrier does not deliver your luggage within 21 days of your flight, you are entitled to compensation for your lost items. The amount of compensation is once again governed by the Montreal Convention, which specifies the maximum amount of compensation at approx. SDR 1,000 (Special Drawing Rights - the unified currency and accounting unit used as part of the International Monetary Fund), that is, an amount of roughly EUR 1,220. In this sense this is the maximum amount a passenger can receive in the event of lost luggage.

Passengers have the biggest problems obtaining compensation for lost luggage and its contents at the moment they must prove the value of the lost luggage itself and its contents. Passengers presume that their luggage will arrive at the final destination on time and without problems. Very few people retain receipts for luggage or its contents. For this reason we strongly recommend taking a few minutes when packing before your flight to take photos of the contents of your luggage and keep the photos until the time your luggage is delivered in good order. If you have not done so and you are already at the airport at the moment your luggage is lost, at least write into the aforementioned PIR the content of the items you were carrying in the given luggage. This at least can be used for later claims for compensation for lost luggage and your chances for obtaining the maximum compensation will be larger than if you have nothing at all.

A summary of the conditions for obtaining compensation for luggage and why you should use our services

Timely reporting to the airline

  • Immediately at the airport at the Baggage Claim counter
  • Within 7 days of the flight directly to the airline (caution: not every airline allows this)

Keeping all receipts

  • Purchases for reasons of delayed luggage must be from the time that the luggage was not available
  • The costs will be recognized only if the destination is outside your permanent residence

Filing a claim for compensation from the airline in the event of:

  • Delayed luggage up to 21 days from the time the luggage was to be delivered
  • For lost luggage, the claim is filed within 2 years from the time the luggage was to be delivered

To obtain compensation, you will need to provide the PIR, receipts, and boarding pass

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Our tip:

Print our assistance card for unforeseeable circumstances at the airport and you will always be prepared to defend your rights

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