They have lost my bags at the airport, what to do and how to claim?

Who has not heard an acquaintance talk about their suitcases being lost at the airport? You start to think and exclaim, I hope it doesn’t happen to me!… Well, it turns out that in your suitcase you put those insultingly expensive shoes that you bought with the extra pay, that wonderful bag that makes all your friends envy, that coat of fur that you managed to buy after several months of saving… and a lot of little treasures that you always carry with you, and that are irreplaceable. Not to mention the suitcase itself, which cost a lot of money and how much love you have for it (you had it). But yes, the airline lost your bag while it was in their possession on the trip.

These incidents are the order of the day at all airports, let us know at least what our rights are as passengers, where we have to go to present the claim and what are the deadlines we have, to receive at least financial compensation for the loss of our personal effects.

Who is responsible?

As a general rule, the airline is responsible for the loss of or damage to checked baggage  that is inside the plane or during its transfer.

In the case of hand luggage, if the damage has been caused by the negligence of your hostesses or cabin staff, it will also be the responsibility of the company, unless it is proven that all measures were taken to avoid the damage.

Despite the fact that it is estimated that 10,000 suitcases are lost every day in the world, that is, 0.01% of the luggage traffic on an airplane, according to data, 94% of the incidents are resolved favorably, and after file the claim, they must immediately give you a toilet or overnight kit, depending on the destination and the distance of the flight, as well as sometimes an amount in cash.

How to claim?

When you pick up your luggage, if you notice that it is damaged or that your suitcase simply does not leave the conveyor belt, it is essential that you go to the information desk of the company with which you have flown as soon as possible (if there have been several companies, complain at the last one in which you have flown) and that you formulate the claim, through the Baggage Irregularity Report form, where you will have to fill in your personal information, flight information, boarding pass, baggage tickets that they give you at the time of billing, and all those documents that the company requires. It is important that you record the complaint in question, always before leaving the baggage area and as soon as the luggage is collected (or not), to avoid possible disagreements later.

It is also recommended that together with the completed Part, you formulate your complaint in the Claims Sheet that every establishment has and that must be made available to customers, and that you keep the copy stamped by the company. The presentation of these claims does not affect future legal actions that you could take if the loss of luggage is not satisfactorily resolved.

Claim deadlines

According to current legislation, in the event of damage, you have seven days to claim your luggage from the time it was delivered to you. If there was a delay in delivery, the claim will have to be made within a maximum period of 21 days from the moment the luggage was returned to you. And in the case of loss it will be after 21 days of waiting, always in writing.

If you were not satisfied with the company’s services and you had to go to the Courts of Justice, your claim action prescribes two years from the incident.

Currently, almost all companies allow you to follow up through the company’s baggage service telephone number, on their websites and there are even some that send messages to the mobile.


The current legislation on baggage transport (on Spanish domestic flights it is the Air Navigation Law and Royal Decree 37/2001 and on international flights the Montreal Convention of 2004 applies) establishes the responsibility of the carrier, in case of destruction, loss, breakdown or delay per passenger, up to a maximum of €1,100, for three items: lost, damaged or delayed baggage.

In case of loss, the compensation will be established after evaluating the content of the luggage, for which you must make a list as detailed as possible, even providing invoices. If there is deterioration, the company will try, in this order, to repair the damaged part or replace it with a similar one.

If you consider that your baggage has a greater value than this amount, you will need to make a Special Declaration of the Baggage Value at the offices of the Airline Company, prior to the invoicing of the same, and pay an additional amount, according to current rates, in such a way that In case of loss or deterioration, you will be paid the declared value and not the standard. For hand luggage, liability will be limited to around €400 per passenger.

The company has a maximum period of six months, from the date the incident occurred, to pay the corresponding compensation.

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