You look out for your luggage on the conveyor belt, other travellers pick up their bags and you… end up alone and the belt stops moving. Your luggage is now missing.
Such situations are regulated by the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, concluded in Montreal on 28 May 1999. (Journal of Laws 2007, no. 37 item 235). The air carrier is responsible for checked baggage, i.e. baggage placed in the cargo hold, from the moment it is checked in until the moment it is collected by the passenger at the destination airport. Therefore, if the plane has arrived and the baggage has not, in such a case financial compensation is due.
Lost or damaged baggage must first be reported to the lost and found office at the airport, by completing a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). In order to submit your claim as quickly as possible, please come to the office with:
- a boarding pass from the baggage and ticket check-in
- proof of identity
- baggage registration receipt
- your ticket
- other flight data
Complaints about damage, delay, loss or theft of luggage should be addressed directly to the air carrier, and it is only the air carrier to whom the complaint must be addressed. That is why it is so important to read the regulations of a given airline at the stage of buying a plane ticket. They often contain information about compensation for a delayed flight.
If 21 days pass and all trace of your baggage is still missing, it should be considered lost. The airline is obliged through the Montreal Convention to pay compensation for lost luggage, although the amount paid depends on the airline, which may be decisive in obtaining compensation. This is a very individual issue, so it is a good idea to have the contents of your baggage well documented. It does not hurt to take a photo of the suitcase before the trip. It is also a good idea to have a complete list of lost items with their approximate value. You are in the best position if you have receipts documenting the purchase of certain items, in which case attach copies. Remember that the airline or insurance company will consider the current value of the items or their replacement cost, not the price you paid in the past.
However, it is a common situation that the baggage will indeed arrive, albeit several days later. Then, within 7 days of receipt, you must file a claim directly with the air carrier. For the delay of the baggage itself, you are entitled to a refund of the basic costs you have incurred, such as buying the necessary cosmetics and clothes to change. However, it is advisable to contact the airline in advance in this matter and keep the proof of purchase. They will be necessary to document the expenses incurred in the compensation process.
If the airline carrier refuses to respond to your complaint, or its response is unsatisfactory or refuses to pay compensation for the delayed flight, your rights may be successfully pursued in court.