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Lost, Damaged & Delayed Baggage: How to Get Compensation from Delta Airlines

Lost, Damaged & Delayed Baggage: How to Get Compensation from Delta Airlines

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
Last Updated: April 22, 2024

If you’ve traveled with Delta and had issues with lost, damaged, or delayed baggage, you can get reimbursed for your trouble! So, let’s take a look at the steps you need to take in order to get the baggage compensation you’re entitled to.

Key Points

  1. In the U.S. you can get up to $3,800 in baggage compensation from Delta.
  2. As an international passenger, Delta will pay you up to $1,728 for delayed, lost, and damaged baggage.
  3. Liability limits for delayed baggage aren’t a guarantee of compensation. You have to support your case with the right information, and file your claim following specific guidelines.

Your Rights as a Passenger

If you’re a Delta Airlines passenger, you have certain rights that not only cover delayed flights but delayed baggage as well. In fact, the US Department of Transportation has made it a requirement for airlines to provide compensation for lost and damaged baggage on flights within the U.S..

If your baggage is mishandled internationally, the Montreal Convention and the Warsaw Convention cover your passenger rights, including how much you can be compensated for baggage mishandling.

Lost Luggage

How to Report Delta Lost & Delayed Checked Baggage

If you arrive at your final destination, and your luggage hasn’t arrived after about 30-45 min then Delta considers it delayed.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Report the baggage delay to a Delta representative as soon as possible.
  2. When you make the report, they will give you a 8-10 digit file reference number. Keep this handy because you will need it to file a claim and check the status of your bags.

If you paid to check your luggage with Delta, then you might be eligible for a Bag Fee Rebate if your checked bags have not been returned to you within 12 hours. This isn’t a cash reimbursement, but a voucher for future flights on Delta.

If you have to make purchases as a result of your missing luggage, make sure to keep your receipts, because you’ll need them to file a reimbursement claim.

Filing Delta reimbursement claims

Delta will reimburse you for essential purchases, but make sure that these purchases are truly essential. Generally, Delta will provide you $50 USD per day for up to 5 days that your bag is missing, but this daily amount is just a guideline. Each case is handled individually as different circumstances can apply.

Submitting a Baggage Reimbursement Claim

To submit your expenses for reimbursement:

  1. Gather your receipts
  2. Go to the Delta baggage claim form
  3. Enter your name and file reference number and then select “Out of Pocket Expense”
  4. Then upload your receipts

Making a claim for lost baggage

If 5 days have passed and your baggage still hasn’t been returned to you, then you will need to file a claim using Delta’s online claim form.

You can also call Delta’s Baggage number at 800-325-8224.

Documents for your lost baggage claim

  • Bag tag
  • The receipt for your ticket or boarding pass
  • Photos of the inside and outside of your baggage (if you have them)
  • Copy of your government photo ID (i.e. passport or driver’s license)

Has your baggage been delayed? AirAdvisor can help. Let our legal team get you the compensation you deserve!Check eligibility

Damaged Baggage

If your luggage or items inside your luggage are damaged once it’s returned to you, then you should make a report at the Delta Baggage office before you leave the airport. Delta requires that a member of their staff inspect your damaged items. As they do the inspection, they’ll ask you to complete a damaged bag form. Be sure to keep copies of this and your file reference number.


Take photos of the damage and submit these with your claim. Also, remember to take photos of your luggage as you pack so you can use it as a comparison.

Once you complete this step, you can file a claim using the Delta Claim form on their site.

Damaged baggage

Time limits for filing a damage claim

Make sure you submit your claim within Delta’s required timeframes or your claim could be denied.

  • If you traveled within the U.S, you have 24 hours to submit your claim.
  • If you traveled internationally, you have 7 days to file your claim.

Damage that won’t be covered by Delta

  • Normally occurring wear from use
  • Small cuts
  • Scratches
  • Damage caused by improper packing
  • Damage to fragile items
  • Cash
  • Jewelry
  • Cameras and video equipment
  • Broken zippers
  • Damage caused by the TSA

When TSA damages your luggage

You’ll know if the TSA has caused damage to your luggage because you’ll find a notice inside your suitcase or a seal attached to the outside of your bags. United Airlines is not responsible for damage caused by the TSA.

Contact the TSA for more info by calling 866-289-9673.

How much compensation can you get from Delta

Delta is required to compensate you for lost, damaged, and delayed baggage up to the following amounts.

Delayed Checked Baggage Compensation Liability Limits

Domestic Flights

Up to $3,800 USD

International Flights

Up to $1,728 USD

Your passenger rights to compensation are covered by national and international laws. So, the next time you fly with Delta, remember that if your baggage is delayed, lost, or damaged, you can receive compensation for your trouble.

We assume all legal costs

All you have to do is submit the application and wait for the compensation to be received.

People Also Ask

What happens if my carry-on luggage is lost?

If you’ve lost your bag or any items on a flight with Delta or in the gate area, make a report by using the lost items form. If you think you’ve left any personal items at the TSA security check area, then you can contact them by calling 866-289-9673 or by visiting

How does Delta handle wheelchairs and other assistive devices that are lost or damaged?

According to the US Department of Transportation, airlines are required to compensate you for the full amount of damage or loss to your wheelchair regardless of the liability limits that apply to baggage. If Delta has lost or damaged your wheelchair or other assistive device, make a report with a representative while you’re still at the airport. You can also call 1-404-209-3434.

What can I do to avoid baggage delays?

To avoid baggage delays and loss, make sure you add your name and contact info to any luggage you plan to check. If you’re extra cautious, add your contact info to the contents of your bag. Lastly, be sure to remove any bag tags and other info from previous flights to avoid confusion during baggage transfers.

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