British Airways misplaced my bag. How a lot compensation can I declare?

After his delayed British Airways flight from Boston to London lastly touched down, Andrew Horn raced to the bags carousel. He did not have time to spare. Horn wanted to shortly acquire his bag and make a connection on a separate ticket to Zurich, Switzerland, the place he was attending a enterprise assembly.

Nonetheless, as the gang round him on the carousel thinned, and his suitcase did not seem, Horn acquired a sinking feeling in regards to the destiny of his bag. An airline worker quickly confirmed the worst: Horn’s baggage — along with his enterprise garments inside — was nonetheless in Boston. The consultant from British Airways apologized and promised Horn his delayed baggage would arrive in Switzerland the subsequent day.

Regardless of British Airways’ assurance that his baggage was on the way in which, it did not present up in Zurich. Horn says one other agent from British Airways informed him he may purchase new enterprise apparel and the airline would reimburse him later, as much as $1,000, so Horn went out and bought new clothes for his conferences.

Months later, the airline nonetheless had not reimbursed Horn, so he reached out to TPG for assist. He hoped we may facilitate the $1,000 compensation from British Airways to cowl the price of the garments he wanted to buy.

However what does an airline actually owe a passenger after it misplaces the traveler’s baggage, and what different assist can vacationers name upon?

Flying British Airways to a enterprise assembly 

British Airways Membership Suite Boeing 777-300. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Final spring, Horn, who has Oneworld Emerald standing, reserved a British Airways ticket from Boston Logan Worldwide Airport (BOS) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) in enterprise class. He then bought a separate ticket, additionally on British Airways, from London to Zurich Airport (ZRH).

On the day of his scheduled journey, Horn arrived on the airport in Boston with loads of time to examine in earlier than his flight. On the British Airways check-in counter, he checked a suitcase with all his garments in it and watched because the agent positioned a precedence label on it. She handed him his baggage declare tag and his boarding cross.

Quickly, Horn was on his method to the airline lounge and assumed his baggage was being loaded onto the airplane. It wasn’t.

It is nonetheless unclear the place it went from there, however it could be almost every week earlier than Horn would see his bag once more.

Every day Publication

Reward your inbox with the TPG Every day e-newsletter

Be part of over 700,000 readers for breaking information, in-depth guides and unique offers from TPG’s consultants

A delayed flight and a lacking bag

Again within the lounge, British Airways introduced that Horn’s flight to London was delayed. First, the delay was restricted to an hour, after which it progressed to 2 hours.

“I started to get frightened that I might miss my connection in England,” Horn recalled.

That was a legitimate concern. Horn was touring on two separate tickets, so he must get his suitcase and re-check it for his subsequent flight.

When a traveler is flying on one airline with one file locator (and one ticket quantity), a missed connection is protected, that means the airline should put the traveler on the subsequent out there flight on their very own fleet at no extra cost, or will attempt to discover various choices for them.

Nonetheless, when a traveler books themselves on two separate tickets, as Horn did, there is no such thing as a safety for a missed connecting flight. The airline for the primary flight shouldn’t be obligated to rebook the missed flight or assist make any extra preparations because the reservations are fully separate.

So, if you’re booked on separate tickets and miss your second one due to a delay within the first leg, you are thought-about a no-show and are usually not entitled to a refund or journey credit score, not to mention assist to rebook your second phase.

Horn realized too late what the implications of the sort of reserving might be.

“We lastly took off about two hours after we had been scheduled,” Horn informed me. “I used to be fairly certain I might miss my connection to Zurich.”

He was proper. However that wasn’t the worst of it.

At Heathrow, when his bag didn’t seem, he went to the customer support desk and realized that British Airways hadn’t put his baggage on the plane within the first place. Now, Horn was with out his clothes and with no persevering with phase to Zurich. Issues could not have turned out worse.

Just a little excellent news: British Airways will rebook your flight


There was a bit of fine information, although, British Airways agreed to rebook Horn on the subsequent out there flight to Zurich with out cost. I say “slightly” excellent news as a result of that subsequent flight wasn’t for 10 hours.

Exhausted and pissed off by the flip of occasions, Horn headed to the British Airways Galleries Membership Lounge at Heathrow to attend for his connection.

“It was a multitude, however I assumed no less than British Airways would ship my baggage on the subsequent flight from Boston.”

Ten hours later, Horn settled into his connecting flight to Switzerland and shortly touched down in Zurich. He headed to his resort to arrange for his assembly and hoped that his clothes would arrive in time simply as British Airways stated it could.

British Airways: The delayed baggage remains to be on its method

Late into the subsequent day, it turned clear to Horn that he wanted a backup plan. He undoubtedly could not attend his enterprise conferences within the informal (and now rumpled) clothes he wore on his flight to Europe. He started to name and ship pressing messages to British Airways asking for the whereabouts of his baggage.

“Lastly, one of many British Airways brokers informed me simply to go and purchase no matter enterprise clothes I wanted. He stated the airline would reimburse me as much as $1,000.”

Sadly, this fairly beneficiant provide was not in writing and wasn’t inside any of British Airways’ written protocols. However Horn accepted the verbal promise of reimbursement of as much as $1,000 and went purchasing for applicable apparel.

He was quickly decked out for the assembly and submitted all his receipts to British Airways through its lacking or misplaced baggage portal. (There are step-by-step directions as to the way to submit receipts through that platform.)

The airline delivered his lacking baggage to his Zurich resort simply in time for Horn to fly residence. Now, along with his previous and new garments in tow, he waited for phrase from the airline about his compensation.

Because it seems, he could be ready a very long time.

Will British Airways ever pay this delayed baggage declare?

British Airways Airbus A319 in Zurich. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

When Horn arrived residence, he assumed it would not be lengthy earlier than British Airways would pay his declare.

Actually, each of his claims — not solely did he file a delayed baggage declare, however he additionally submitted an EU261 declare for the delayed flight.

The EU261 regulation, which the UK retains regardless of now not being a part of the European Union, permits vacationers flying inside the EU, or between it and different areas, to obtain compensation for prolonged flight delays.

Horn believed that as a result of he arrived at his ultimate vacation spot (Switzerland) 12 hours after the initially scheduled arrival time, he certified for an EU261 fee of round $700.

Nonetheless, he shortly acquired a denial of his EU261 declare, and the repercussions of how he booked his flight to Zurich got here extra clearly into focus.

As I defined to Horn, flights arriving in Europe or the U.Ok. are lined by the EU261 if:

  • The airline is an EU member
  • The passenger experiences no less than a three-hour delay in arriving at their ultimate vacation spot

U.S. airways are certain by the EU261 solely on flights departing from Europe or the U.Ok.

Nonetheless, as a result of Horn had bought two separate tickets, the ultimate vacation spot on his first itinerary was London, and that arrival was delayed by simply two hours. Had he booked each elements of his journey with British Airways as a single ticket, he would have certified for the EU261 fee since his arrival in Switzerland was considerably delayed.

That stated, per the Montreal Conference, which covers airline legal responsibility for misplaced and delayed baggage on worldwide flights, British Airways was required to compensate Horn for the garments that he was compelled to purchase as a result of the airline hadn’t loaded his bag on his flight.

Regardless of Horn’s a number of makes an attempt to contact British Airways, although, the airline was solely sending automated electronic mail responses to him. Sadly, the sort of unfriendly buyer relations is not unusual within the age of synthetic intelligence.

I gave Horn some steering about the way to ensure that he was truly reaching a human at British Airways and never an AI suggestions loop, as different TPG readers have hit.

Horn as soon as once more contacted British Airways through an electronic mail deal with with the title and make contact with data of an actual individual. He adjusted his declare to take away the request for the EU261 compensation, too. Even then, it took almost a month earlier than the airline responded.

The excellent news: British Airways can pay (most of) your declare

After one other delay of a few month, Horn acquired an electronic mail replace from British Airways that defined the airline would partially pay his declare. He forwarded the message to me. British Airways was asking for Horn’s routing quantity to his checking account, and the fee was about 80% of what he was asking for.

Horn was alarmed that the airline was asking him for his banking data, however I assured him this was regular. Most European corporations will refund vacationers straight by a financial institution switch. Airways will virtually by no means pay the total quantity requested by the passenger in these circumstances, both.

That is as a result of neither the Montreal Conference nor the U.S. Division of Transportation requires an airline to pay the highest request. Carriers sometimes reimburse clients between 60-80% of what they’re asking for — factoring depreciation of things and the actual fact the traveler will be capable of use any newly bought objects once more.

After I defined this to Horn, he was glad with that consequence. Inside days he acquired his compensation, and we are able to efficiently shut his case.

What to do earlier than and after an airline loses your baggage


Vacationers can take a variety of preemptive actions that may reduce the possibilities of an airline shedding their baggage within the first place — and, if the worst occurs, scale back the monetary impression and stress of a nasty scenario.

E book nonstop, connecting, or interline flights

The extra sophisticated your itinerary, the upper the possibilities your baggage might be misplaced. Every time doable, guide nonstop flights to your vacation spot. The subsequent smartest thing is to guide connecting flights on a single airline with a single file locator in your reservation.

Interline connections (flights on completely different carriers, however which might be related) are typically superb however can get difficult, particularly if one thing goes mistaken with neither airline keen to shoulder the blame for a misplaced bag.

Vacationers ought to be cautious about reserving multi-leg, multi-airline journeys by third-party websites like Expedia or Priceline. These corporations generally get you the bottom price by constructing flight itineraries with a sequence of one-way tickets, which aren’t linked to any single airline’s system. Because of this, you might want to gather your luggage and recheck them between every leg. In the event you aren’t conscious of this and fail to select up your baggage throughout your connection, you’ll find yourself at your ultimate vacation spot with out your belongings, and the airways won’t be accountable.

Test in nicely upfront of the cut-off time

You need to give the airline loads of time to get your luggage in your airplane. In the event you arrive on the check-in counter on the final minute, your baggage may not make it.

Double-check that your declare tags have the right vacation spot

After the airline’s agent has printed your routing tag in your suitcase, take a detailed take a look at it. Be certain that the ultimate vacation spot matches the place you are going. Equally, examine your baggage declare tag and make sure that it has the right data together with your title hooked up. Put that tag someplace for safekeeping (and take a photograph of it together with your cellphone) since you may want it later ought to your baggage not present up on the carousel whenever you land.

{Photograph} your baggage (each outdoors and the contents inside)


Taking pictures of your baggage and its contents earlier than heading to the airport will help in looking for it if it goes lacking and with the claims course of if it by no means reappears. In the event you’ve bought particular new objects for the journey, preserve the receipts as a result of the airways typically contemplate depreciation once they determine what to pay you in case your objects are misplaced underneath their watch.

Be mindful airline legal responsibility limits

Airways have strict legal responsibility limits. So, whilst you might not be packing anybody factor of excessive worth, bear in mind the general legal responsibility of the airways could also be far lower than the worth of the whole lot you are stuffing into your suitcase. That is very true in case you’re taking a sort of journey that requires particular gear or apparel (like a enterprise assembly, a climbing expedition or a safari).

The Montreal Conference limits what airways are required to reimburse it is best to they lose your belongings throughout a global flight to round $1,700. The U.S. Division of Transportation locations a extra passenger-friendly legal responsibility restrict for the airways at $3,800.

These figures are per passenger, not per bag. So vacationers ought to be conscious that in the event that they examine one bag or a number of items of bags, the airline’s misplaced, delayed or broken baggage legal responsibility stays the identical.

Bear in mind that these are the legal responsibility limits solely, not a set payout if the airline loses or damages your baggage. Passengers will probably be required to offer proof of their loss and be ready for the service to counter the declare’s greenback quantity primarily based on the diminished worth of things. In the event you purchased new objects to switch the lacking ones throughout your journey, the airways will even sometimes scale back your declare, taking the place that you’ll preserve the objects and use them once more.

By no means examine objects of mandatory or costly objects

Any time you examine a bag, there’s a chance that your belongings will probably be delayed and even misplaced. By no means pack something of excessive financial or sentimental worth in your baggage, as there are agency airline legal responsibility limits.

For instance, in case you pack $157,000 in jewellery in your checked bag, as one shopper as soon as informed me she did, and it goes lacking, the airways won’t reimburse you in your loss. Hold something of excessive worth in your individual always — or depart it at residence.

Additionally, by no means pack something in your checked baggage you will want as quickly as you land. Meaning medicines, child meals, switch data, and every other crucial objects ought to at all times stay with you always.

Put air tags in your luggage


Apple AirTags are an effective way to trace your baggage’s location and shortly decide in case your wait at baggage declare is in useless. Simply toss one in your bag, and you’ll see the place it’s always. That does not imply you’re going to get it again straight away, however no less than it could possibly assist you to pinpoint your belongings for the airline and hopefully expedite your reunion together with your issues.

Journey insurance coverage for misplaced or delayed baggage

One of many lesser-known advantages of a superb complete journey insurance coverage coverage is protection for misplaced or delayed baggage. This safety is above the airways’ legal responsibility limitations set by the DOT and the Montreal Conference.

Assessment the main points of your coverage earlier than buy and search for “misplaced and delayed baggage profit.” That clause will element when your safety kicks in and whether or not it’s major or secondary to the airline’s legal responsibility. It can additionally sometimes exclude sure objects like jewellery and electronics and have set payout limits.

Use a bank card with baggage safety

Many journey bank cards provide excellent misplaced and delayed baggage protection whenever you use them to buy your ticket, so make sure you use among the finest playing cards with journey insurance coverage in your subsequent journey. In Horn’s case, he used his firm’s Mastercard, which, sadly, did not present delayed baggage compensation.

Backside line

It is by no means nice when your baggage goes lacking after a flight. To make issues worse, airways typically make it complicated and troublesome not solely to file a misplaced or delayed baggage declare but in addition to comply with by to the tip. The method ought to be simple and clear and never want the help of a shopper advocate to finish it.

Sadly, as we have seen in lots of our circumstances right here at TPG, generally vacationers hit an insurmountable roadblock of their path to repair their very own issues.

If you end up in the same scenario with an airline, cruise line, automotive rental company or trip rental firm, ship your request for assist to, and I will be blissful that will help you too.

Related Articles

Back to top button