What to do if your bag gets lost on a flight?

 In Blog

By Joao Marcos


It can be really devastating when you arrive in your destination, tired after a long flight, and your bag doesn’t show up on the baggage carousel.

It actually happened to me twice and on the same route – Brazil to Ireland, so I am writing from personal experience. If you’ve never been in this unpleasant situation then chances are you wouldn’t know what to do. So let me enlighten you about your air travel rights.

It happens all the time

Firstly, bags get lost quite often in air travel. Loss of luggage is the second most frequent complaint of air passengers, according to the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).

Among the many reasons for the loss of luggage, three stand out:

  • Airline staff error during check-in or baggage placement on the carousel;
  • Theft within the airport;
  • Loss of the identification tag of the suitcase.

Passengers who take bags that do not belong to them are also part of the statistic, but this is not as frequent a mistake as those mentioned above. Nevertheless, it is very important to identify your suitcase well with tags and stickers before you dispatch it.

The airline is responsible

After you check in your bag and before you pick it up off the baggage carousel, the responsibility for the luggage rests entirely with the airline. So as soon as you find that your bag has disappeared, it is essential that you go to the counter of the airline, notify staff about the loss of your luggage and fill out an official statement.

For domestic flights, the airline has 30 days to return the luggage to your address. In the case of international flights, this period is 21 days.

If this deadline expires and your bag is not returned, the rules state that the passenger must be compensated by the airline or the insurer (if he / she took out a travel insurance).

If your bag arrived at the airport, however you noticed that some content has disappeared, the airline must also be immediately contacted at the airport.

In the first few days without your bag, if you spend anything on clothes or toiletries, it is very important that you keep all the receipts and then claim the money from the airline, which will have to refund the amounts.

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