What to do if your baggage does not arrive with your flight

Many travelers who took domestic flights over the Easter holiday found themselves leaving the baggage carousel empty-handed.

If your checked baggage does not arrive, proceed to the baggage claim desk and file a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) with the carrier operating your last flight. You must include a description of your baggage and it helps to have a picture on your phone. It is essential to do this immediately as some carriers have a deadline for filing a PIR.

You may be entitled to an immediate cash payment, intended to buy small items such as toiletries just to help you out until you and your luggage are reunited. The airlines will never advertise this or tell you how much you are entitled to, but twice in the past few years I have received small amounts from Cathay Pacific and Alitalia. You must file your claim at the baggage claim office and be firm.

Checked baggage that does not arrive on your flight is considered by the airline to be delayed for the first 21 days. During this period, you must submit a baggage claim form, available on your airline’s website. In more than 99% of cases, baggage is delayed rather than lost. If after 21 days your baggage has not been located, your airline may consider it lost. For loss of checked baggage on an Australian domestic flight, you are entitled to compensation under the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959, up to a maximum of $1,600. If the value of the lost items is higher, you should consult your travel insurance policy.

The airline is responsible for locating and delivering delayed baggage to your home. However if after your domestic flight you took an international flight this becomes unlikely. If you are abroad, when your luggage is finally located, the best you can hope for is delivery to the nearest airport and you may need to drive there to collect it.


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