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How much do airlines pay for lost luggage?

When the airlines irretrievably lose your luggage, they have some compensation. Here’s what you need to know about lost luggage.

20 September 2010
How much do airlines pay for lost luggage?

Most airlines have a very efficient way to handle checked luggage, and they deliver almost every luggage piece that is entrusted to them to the right destination. Nonetheless, baggage handlers do make mistakes on occasion, and some bags do not reach their owners at the end of a flight. Travelers who lose their luggage may experience significant financial loss, especially if they have valuable items in their bags, and many of them will try to claim for compensation from the airlines.

When loss of luggage occurs during air travel, it is mostly the result of airlines’ incompetent baggage handling systems. In such cases, the airlines have the responsibility to pay compensation to owners of lost luggage. The amount of compensation is dependent on a number of factors, which include the route of the flight and the contents of the luggage.

  • Travelers who lose their luggage during a domestic flight can claim up to $3,000 per person. In the case that a luggage piece contains the belongings of two air passengers, then the maximum compensation amount will be $6,000.
  • The liability limit for international flights is governed by airline regulations, as well as international treaties; therefore it varies greatly from case to case.

Submitting a claim for lost luggage

After an airline has confirmed that a certain luggage piece is lost, it will go into negotiation with its owner. The owner is required to produce a list of items that are kept in the luggage as well as the price of each item. The airline may also request him or her to show receipts for certain items on the list.

After the documents are submitted to the airline, it will calculate the depreciated values of the items, and compensate the owner accordingly. If the lost bag contains a two-year-old suit that was bought at a price of $500, the airline will only pay its depreciated value, which may be only $250. Also, airlines have an extensive list of items that they do not reimburse for, and these include valuable items such as jewelry, antiques, cash, and others.

No good compensation from airlines

In most cases, travelers who lose their luggage during air travel do not get satisfactory compensation from airlines. One way to ensure that they will get the right amount of financial recovery is to obtain a good travel insurance policy.

Most travel insurance plans provide coverage for lost luggage, and the compensation amounts are much higher than those that are offered by airlines. Travel insurance providers also allow travelers to get a coverage upgrade if they are planning to keep valuable items in their luggage.

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Damian Tysdal
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DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.