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Lost, Delayed & Damaged Baggage Compensation: How Much Can You Get in the UK

Lost, Delayed & Damaged Baggage Compensation: How Much Can You Get in the UK

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
Last Updated: June 07, 2024

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If you checked your luggage and it was lost, delayed, or damaged, UK laws state that you have a right to compensation from the airline. The amount you may receive depends on whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

KEY POINTS

  • The maximum compensation you can receive for baggage mishandling on UK domestic flights is £1,000.
  • The maximum compensation you can receive for baggage mishandling on UK international flights is £1,395
  • Baggage compensation amounts only apply to checked/hold luggage and not carry-on bags.

What are my rights as a passenger?

Your rights as an airline passenger in the UK are governed by the Civil Aviation Authority for domestic flights and by the Montreal Convention for international travel.

Domestic Flights

If you checked luggage and it was delayed, damaged, or lost, you may be compensated by the airlines up to the maximum amount of £1,000

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It’s important to understand however, that there are no set amounts for what you will receive from airlines should you have a problem with your baggage. Instead, compensation is determined by the value of your bags and their contents.

International Flights

If you have left from the UK on an international flight and you have lost, delayed or damaged baggage, then the Montreal Convention would go into effect as long as you are flying to one of the 135 countries that have ratified this treaty. 

In this situation, the maximum liability amount an airline is required to compensate you for baggage mishandling is £1,395.

Family in airport with luggage

How much baggage compensation can you get in the UK

When claiming compensation from an airline, the reimbursement is typically limited to:

  • Essentials for Delayed Luggage: This covers necessary items like toiletries and underwear if your luggage is delayed.
  • Partial Replacement or Repair: Airlines may contribute to the cost of replacing or repairing lost luggage and its contents.
  • Transport Costs: If you have to retrieve delayed luggage in person, the airline might cover transport expenses.

Generally speaking, airlines will NOT reimburse you for:

  • 'New for Old' Replacement: Compensation doesn't include replacing old items with new ones, whether they were lost or damaged.
  • Valuables and Fragile Items: Valuable, fragile, or perishable items in checked luggage aren't covered.
  • Stress and Inconvenience: Compensation is not provided for stress, inconvenience, or missed connections caused by luggage problems.
  • Damage to Luggage: Claims aren't honored if the luggage was already ripped, broken, or compromised prior to your trip.
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Compensation for damaged baggage

If you find your luggage or its contents damaged, you will need to file a baggage claim. Once the claim is filed, the airline will either cover the cost of repairing your damaged baggage or provide a replacement.

Compensation for delayed baggage

If you have delayed luggage, most airlines will provide reimbursement for essential items you need to purchase, especially if you are away from home.

Essential items can include:

  • Toiletries
  • Underwear
  • Laundry services 

On the other hand, if you have returned home, airlines might consider your losses to be lower since you have access to clothes and essentials. 

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Be sure to check with your airline. Policies differ among carriers, and some offer a daily reimbursement rate for each day your bag is delayed.

woman at baggage claim

What if the airline lost my luggage?

Baggage is considered officially lostif it has not been returned to you after 21 days. So, stay in contact with the airline and track the status of your baggage report until the 21 days have passed. Then you can begin the filing process for lost luggage.

Will I be compensated for mobility equipment or assistive devices?

Airlines are responsible for any damage to mobility equipment, although the compensation amount could be capped at approximately £1,300. If you need to travel with assistive devices, you should consider additional insurance coverage to safeguard your belongings.

If your mobility equipment is damaged, the airport is obligated to offer a temporary alternative for your equipment while it undergoes repairs or replacement. However, the substitute they provide might not match your original equipment in a like-for-like manner.

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Find out more about baggage claim compensation.

How to file a baggage claim

Before you make a claim, you should always make a report at the airport before you leave. Visit the Baggage Claim Desk that can usually be found in the baggage carousel area. 

Taking swift action is essential when seeking compensation for luggage issues. While this isn’t strictly necessary for the claim process, it will certainly help your case.

In most cases, you will be asked to complete a 'property irregularity report' (PIR) at the airport. If you haven’t done this, contact the airline through their website and ensure you receive written confirmation of your report.

Be mindful of deadlines

Claims usually need to be submitted within 7 days of your flight, so be aware of the time constraints. If you don’t file within the required timeframe, your claim could be denied.

Claim Type

Deadline

Damaged Luggage

7 days after receiving your bags

Missing or damaged contents

7 days after receiving your bags

Delayed Luggage

21 days after the flight

Lost Luggage

As soon as possible after 21 days when it is considered officially lost.

If your travel or home insurance covers luggage, consider filing a claim through your insurance provider. You can also check to see if the credit card company you used to purchase your flight will provide any coverage for damaged or lost baggage. Doing this can often lead to a smoother process and potentially higher compensation.

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TIP: If your journey involves two or more different airlines and you are filing a claim for a lost or damaged bag, you can claim compensation from any of them. However, it is typically the final airline on your journey that handles the claim, making them the appropriate starting point for your claim process.

Documents needed to file a baggage claim

The moment you realize your baggage is delayed, missing, or damaged, keep as much documentation as possible. The more documentation you can provide, the better your chances of receiving airline compensation. 

Necessary documents include:

  1. Checked bag receipts 
  2. Boarding passes, ticket receipts, or other proof of purchase
  3. A copy of the report you filed at the airport (Property Irregularity Report). This sometimes includes a number or code that you’ll need to reference in your claim.
  4. A copy of your photo ID
  5. Original receipts for purchases made because of a delayed bag 
  6. Photos of the inside and outside of your bags before your flight
  7. Photos of any damage to your bags
  8. Receipts and/or an itemized list of your luggage contents that were damaged or lost. 

Documents needed to file a baggage claim

Filing a baggage claim can be an arduous and confusing process. Keep it simple and easy! Contact AirAdvisor to find out if you’re eligible for compensation, and let us do the filing for you.

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If your baggage was lost, delayed or damaged, you could be eligible for compensation up to £1,395.

UK baggage claims FAQ

How long does it take for an airline to deliver my delayed baggage?

According to SITA, the organization that developed World Tracer, most delayed bags are delivered to their owners within three days.

What if I’ve filed a claim and I’m not happy with the airline’s response?

If you’ve completed all the steps for filing a claim, and you're unsatisfied with the airline’s response, and/or they haven’t responded to you within 30 days, you can then file a complaint with the travel authority or governing body for your country of residence.

What do I do if the TSA damaged my luggage during an inspection?

If you’ve made a trip to America and the TSA has damaged your baggage, don’t file a claim with the airline but contact TSA directly to find out how to file a claim with them. 

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