It's one of my worries about flying - that the airline will lose my bag! It has only happened to me once, and I did get it back again but it was a hassle to sort out. I thought I would share with you how to deal with lost luggage in case it happens to you in the future - although I hope that it doesn't!
Only take hand luggage
The first thing is to say that the best way to avoid lost luggage is not to check any. Last time we flew short haul we just took carry on luggage and this not only saved us time in checking our bags in and collecting them on arrival but we were also sure that they weren't going to get lost. I know that taking on hand luggage only isn't practical if you are travelling further afield or for a longer duration though. Even if you have to check in your luggage make sure that your really important things are in your hand luggage such as your money / cards / passports and documents etc.
Take direct flights
Your luggage is more likely to get lost if you are changing flights. Obviously sometimes a flight change can't be avoided but make sure that you check out flight routes before you book your journey and avoid a connecting flight if it is at all possible.
Personalise Your Luggage
Make sure that your luggage is easily recognisable and labelled correctly. I always tie a coloured ribbon around the handle of my case so that I can distinguish it from other similar looking cases. You can also buy brightly coloured cases, or those with pictures or stickers on so that you can recognise it easily. Also make sure that your name and address details are clearly labelled on the case, along with your mobile phone number. These might be needed if your luggage gets lost and they are trying to trace it back to you.
It sounds obvious but make sure that you have travel insurance. A good policy should cover you for a missing bag and reimburse you the cost for anything you might need to spend on replacements until you have had it returned. Make sure that you save any receipts for thing that you have to buy as a result of your bag going missing.
Liaise with the airline
If it is the airline's fault that the bag has become lost make sure that you liase closely with them. They might be able to offer you some essentials like toiletries to save you buying replacements and they should have a dedicated department which will help you to locate your lost luggage and re-unite you with it. They may also offer compensation for their mistake so definitely ask.
Don't let it spoil your trip. At the end of the day, it is only material possessions and the likelihood is that it will turn up sooner or later.
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