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Lost luggage at the airport: what to do


Summer, holidays, travelling by plane... It sounds exciting, but sometimes things don't go as planned and we encounter problems that can turn this experience into a nightmare. For example, lost luggage at the airport, damaged suitcases during the flight, delays in flights or baggage delivery or the overbooking

At Ódice Abogados we know that, despite being common, it is a very frustrating situation that can generate stress and worry. However, it is important to remain calm and follow the right steps to solve the problem.

That is why, from our law firm in Malaga, we would like to offer you a guide on what to do in case of lost luggage at the airport.

Types of lost luggage at the airport

The most common situations of lost luggage are:

  • Temporary loss of baggage. This situation occurs when your baggage does not arrive at its destination on time, but appears within a maximum of 21 days. This situation may be due to baggage handling errors by the airline, labelling problems or unexpected deviations during transport. In these cases, the airline usually compensate for the delay
  • Total loss of baggage. This is when your baggage does not arrive at its final destination definitively. This situation is usually the result of baggage handling errors by the airline, labelling problems, theft or unexpected deviations during transport. In these cases, the airline usually compensation for loss of baggage

In addition, there are cases of damage or destruction of luggage as a result of rough handling, adverse weather conditions or defective equipment. If this is your case, you may also be able to claim for a compensation for breakage, tears, dents or damage to wheels or handles.

Causes of lost luggage at the airport

  • Baggage theft. Occasionally, baggage may be subject to theft in transit areas, during ground transportation or at the final destination.
  • Overload. If the flight is overloaded, it is likely that some bags will not be loaded with the rest of the luggage and will be transferred to other flights.
  • Scales. When you take two or more different flights, your luggage is transferred from one aircraft to another and, as a result, your bags are often left at the stopover airport while you follow your itinerary.
  • Incorrect labelling. Missing or incorrect information on the baggage tag, or the baggage tag becoming detached during transit, can cause your bag to be misplaced or lost. This often occurs when check-in staff incorrectly attach tags to bags or when there are sudden changes to a passenger's itinerary.

What to do in case of baggage loss at the airport

It is important to note that airline policies and procedures may vary, as well as the rights and compensation offered in the event of lost baggage.

However, the steps to be taken in the event of lost luggage are usually as follows:

Immediately inform airport staff

In case your bag does not appear on the baggage conveyor belt at the airport, or your baggage has been damaged during the flight, the first thing you should do is to inform staff which is located in the airline counter with which you booked the flight.

Report the incident and request a Baggage Irregularity Report (P.I.R.). This is a document that contains your personal details and records the incident. It is very important that this step is taken before leaving the baggage area.

If the airline counters are not open, you can complete the PIR. on the company's website airmail within a maximum of 7 days from arrival.

Retain documentation and receipts

It is essential that you keep all documentation relating to your flight and baggage.

  • The flight ticket.
  • Boarding pass.
  • The loss report.
  • The screenshots of the online claim on which the date of the claim is clearly visible.
  • Photos of the luggage before boarding the plane and, in the event of baggage damaged during the flight, photos after collection.
  • Any other voucher given to you at the airport.

Claim compensation for lost luggage at the airport

The regulation (EC) 2027/1997 of 9 October 1997 The "Airline liability for lost and delayed baggage and for damage to baggage during the flight". 

Therefore, you are entitled to compensation for the loss of or damage to your baggage; as well as to claim additional damages if you can prove that the airline acted negligently.

However, please note that this compensation will not cover the full value of your lost belongings.the maximum limit of the indemnity fixing the carrier's liability is limited to 1,131 special drawing rights (S.D.R.) per passenger. Currently, one SDR is equivalent to approximately €1.25.

Compensation for loss, delay or damage to baggage

In addition to the completion of the PIR, you can file a claim with the airline for compensation.

The deadlines for claiming this compensation are as follows:

  • For damage to luggage. The complaint must be made in writing within 7 days of delivery of the baggage.
  • For late delivery of baggage. You will have 21 days from the day you receive the suitcase.
  • For loss of luggage. In this case, after 21 days of delay, your bag is considered lost. There is no time limit for making a claim, but it is advisable to do so as soon as possible. 
  • In case you want to go to courtYou have two years to do so.

Claim forms for loss of luggage at the airport: airlines in Spain

Hire a lawyer specialising in consumer and user law.

In the event that the airline does not respond adequately to your claim in relation to lost baggage at the airport, you can opt for the assistance of a lawyer specialising in consumer and user law.

At Ódice Abogados, a law firm in Malaga, we will advise you and explain your rights and legal options to resolve any problem related to lost luggage and, if necessary, we will initiate legal action against the airline.

If you would like more information about this service, you can contact our lawyers with experience in this field. Our team will provide you with the advice and representation you need to claim fair compensation for the loss of your belongings.


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