Have you had an experience that the airlines lost your luggage? I do. Twice so far. Fortunately they delivered on the next day but one of the agents did not have her bag for an entire trip when we went for 7 days educational trip. My client’s bag is missing almost 1 month and still missing.
To prevent lost luggage, of course, it’s better to book a direct flight. But many cases, you have to take the flight with at least one connection.
If you have to take a connecting flight,
1. Book with the same airlines.
2. Do not book segment by segment for the same day connection flight.
For example, if you are going from Vancouver to Victoria falls in Zimbabwe, Africa. Try not to find the cheapest flight from Vancouver to London, London to Johannesburg, then Johannesburg to Victoria Falls by each segments and book separately. Unless you are going to stay over night in London. If you buy tickets separately, you may need to pick up your bag and check in again at each airports. If you are connecting on the same day, you should check from Vancouver to Victoria Falls. If the choice with different airlines comes up, each airlines may have a ticketing and luggage agreement and they can issue an entire itinerary in one ticket and they can check in your luggage to the final destination.
However as a travel agent, we always double-check these airlines agreement and minimum connection time as well as a fare base. If the fare base is not a through fare, the airlines do not have responsibility for the next flight. For example, if the flight from Vancouver to London delays and if you miss the next flight, you may need to buy a new ticket, or you may need to pay extra night in London to catch the next flight. You should get a travel insurance to cover for the delay as well.
Even I checked all these agreements in our booking system and called the airlines to double-check, still the airlines lost my client bag. I cannot trust the airlines. Each airline staff says different things, so I always tell my client to make sure the destination of luggage tag and also ask a check-in agent if you need to pick up the bag in between. Because even luggage tag says final destination, some countries ( airport ) require you to pick up your bag for custom and security, and drop off right after.
She was on 3 weeks Kumuka tour from La Paz to Lima. Her tour leader helped her and she also e-mailed me. So I told her what she needs to do. Somehow she did not get a copy of claim form which has her claim number. You should always get receipt or copy of any paper work and payments. Even they do not give it to you, you should ask for it. You should always have a written proof. Verbal communication won’t count. There are so many people working. I told her to fill in their detail claim form online. She can do that after 24 hours of missing bag. I am not sure how much details she filled in but the airlines asked me the same thing when I had to take over. Now she is taking another tour in the States and her tour leader no longer be able to help her.
This client is a Japanese student who used to study English in Vancouver and I recommend her to go to MEC ( Mountain Equipment Co-op ) to buy her backpack. So I called MEC to get her purchase record which of course they cannot send it to me. But they sent to my client and she forwarded it to me, then I checked her bag online but it was discontinue item. So I forwarded her e-mail to MEC and called to get the description of the bag and photo. They kindly looked into their old data and found these info and sent it to me. Then I sent that information to the airline. MEC has a great website with photo and description of the products. So as for preparation, you should print out description of your bag and also keep in a virtual space such as Gmail with Photo ( or screen shot of homepage ) . Also you should keep the list of item inside of your bag. The airlines will ask you all the details including color, size, brand, and value. See the form below;
Also you should have a name tag , the one hides your information inside. I put my business card in my name tag, then when I fill in the tag from airlines, I put my name, e-mail address, phone number and just city. Some information they can reach me but easy to change it if the information goes to bad people. If you are a female traveller and not comfortable putting your name showing as a female, you can put last name only or use male name from your family. But you should have your name inside of the bag. Then don’t forget to mention the name of tag when you claim.
Do not put any valuable inside of your check-in bag. If the airlines lose it, they won’t compensate 100% of the value.
The more information you have, the faster they can find. But still it is no guaranteed…