For those travelling abroad for holiday, one nagging worry you may have is not seeing your suitcase on the luggage carousel when you land.

Unfortunately there is not a lot you can do to avoid a situation like this, so it is important to be well-informed of what to do if it comes down to it.

The consumer champion Which? have a number of tips to help you out in this situation.


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These include taking photographs of every high value item you pack and keep hold of any receipts so you can prove what was in there before you submit a claim.

Also keeping important documents in your hand luggage is a way to avoid the worst happening if you lose your main suitcase.

What to do if your luggage is lost or delayed

The first thing you would need to do if your luggage was lost or delayed is to go to the lost luggage desk, which is usually near baggage claim.

From there a member of staff will ask for a description of your luggage before issuing a Property Irregularity Report.

Which? report: "Keep this safe as it will have a tracking number on it which you will need in order to enquire about the whereabouts of your luggage. You will also need this to claim compensation."

From there if your luggage is found the airport can have it arranged to be sent to where you are staying or you can pick it up yourself.

Can you claim compensation for lost luggage?

This is possible and airlines will usually assess the value of its content to decide how much they will award you.

Which? report: "You will need to be able to prove the value of the items you are claiming for which you can do with receipts, credit/debit card records or any other proof of value. 

Here's what you can do if you lose your luggage when travelling by plane (PA)Being able to prove the value of items lost is key to how much compensation you can get (PA)

"As there are no rules which fix the amount the airline must pay you, it’s down to the individual airline to decide on how much compensation they will award and it will depend on the value of the items you have lost."

How to claim for lost luggage

Which? report: "Once you are reunited with your luggage or it is declared lost, you can open a claim with the airline. You have seven days to do this if your luggage is lost or 21 days from the date you receive your luggage if it has been delayed.

"Most airlines have a section on their website for dealing with lost and delayed luggage where you can file your claim and upload any evidence needed. Alternatively, you can contact your airline via email or post. If you’re doing this, make sure you send a copy of your Property Irregularity Report as this is the first thing you will be asked for."

Alternatively, you can claim compensation through your travel insurance.