How To Get Lost Luggage Compensation

luggage left by plane

The chances of your luggage being lost are significantly less than 1%, however that is not much compensation if it happens to you.

But, speaking of compensation, if your luggage is lost is it possible to make a claim and, if so, how do you go about it?

Let’s take a look.

First Step

As the horrid realisation kicks in that your luggage is missing, there is an important first step to take. You will need to report that your bag(s) are missing, go to an advice desk at the airport to find out how to do this as it will vary.

The form you will need is a Property Irregularity Report (PIR), however simply filling this form in does not constitute a claim in itself.

How To Get Lost Luggage Compensation – Insurance

A first point is that insurance is key. Claiming for lost luggage is much more straight forward via an insurance claim than via the airline, it is also likely to lead to a payout more reflective of the loss you have suffered. 

The payout offered by an airline is often strictly limited, the process is more arduous and they do not offer niceties such as new for old replacement. If your laptop goes missing you’re likely to get the basic cash value, rather than a new laptop reflective of how much you spent on the hardware.

Travel insurance can seem like something to skimp on, either in terms of time or money – the temptation to get whichever insurance is cheapest when you punch your details into a comparison site. However, spending a few more minutes to read the level of cover in detail and a few more pounds to get a higher level of cover will prove invaluable should your luggage go missing.

To get lost luggage compensation via your insurer you would simply get in touch with them, your policy details to hand, and follow the procedure as outlined by them. You might need details of the Property Irregularity Report.

A good level of insurance would also cover you for additional problems created by the missing or lost baggage – for instance, it you miss an excursion or start of a cruise because you have to wait for your bags the airline would not offer compensation unless forced to do so by a court.

It might be the airline’s fault that your luggage has gone missing but that does not mean they are going to provide compensation that is anywhere near reflective of the disruption caused.

The only negative aspect to claiming via insurance is that there is likely to be an excess in place. However, even if the excess is £200 claiming via insurance is still likely to prove a better option that through the airline. An airline will pay at most £1,000 for lost luggage and the contents within and it is rare to receive close to this amount.

As remarkable as it might seem, they can lose your luggage and yet pay back just a tiny fraction of the cost of the items that went missing.

How to get lost luggage compensation via the airline

If you have read the insurance section above you will know that claiming via insurance is our preferred option.

Claiming via the airline is resource heavy and even after you have been through the process you will only receive a fraction of the value back.

Having made the Property Irregularity Report you will then need to make a claim by contacting the airline in writing inside seven day – if your luggage went missing at some stage on connecting flights you can make the claim via any of the airlines, though you cannot make multiple claims.

The airline’s default position is to pay as little as possible, if anything, and so you will need proof that you owned the items you are claiming for, receipts and credit / debit card receipts the most common means of verification.

They will also value based on the age of items – no new for old here – and the total value of the claim will be limited to £1,000.

Airlines will also refuse to take the consequences of the lost luggage into account – so if the luggage going missing led to additional costs or disruptions they will not factor this into their settlement fee. Theirs is a very literal approach to the problem, items have been lost, you can have some money to replace them but nothing for the problems the loss caused.

It is, of course, possible to take the airline to a small claims court, but this is an expensive and time consuming process.

Before leaving the airport, as well as filing your PIR form, make sure to also visit the desk for the airline you will be claiming through to talk through the issue.

Claim on Insurance If Possible

It should be clear by now that our advice would always be to claim against the insurance if at all possible.

If you have come to this page while researching for a future trip, we’d advise taking the time to really check the level of travel insurance you are purchasing. 

If your luggage goes missing you will want to be utilising this cover, not relying on the lack of generosity the airline will push your way.

About Flight Reclaim

Airlines get things wrong. Occasionally this is missing luggage, but missed connections, flight cancellations and delays are also common.

Some passengers also suffer through the airlines’ policy of overbooking, finding that despite having a booking for a flight they are bumped or denied boarding.

At Flight Reclaim, we help you get the compensation you are entitled to when things go wrong with flights or holidays.

Hopefully, you won’t need our services but unfortunately flights get cancelled, passengers get bumped or denied boarding and connections are missed because of delays.

We have helped more than 50,000 passengers, operate on a no-win, no-fee basis and have helped claim more than £20 million in compensation. Our success rate is 98% – these figures all helping to explain why we are so highly rated on TrustPilot.

If you are ever affected by delays, cancellations or being refused boarding on an over-booked flight, then do get in touch. We will help get you the compensation you are entitled to.


Start a New Claim

Save yourself time and hassle - start the process with us today

  • 50,000+

    Passengers helped
  • 100%

    No-Win, No-Fee
  • £20m+

    Compensation Claimed
  • 98%

    Success Rate