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Birmingham airport lost luggage how to prevent it and what to do if it happens to you

by

Paula Garrett

Losing your luggage, having it misplaced or stolen is every Birmingham airport passengers nightmare. Whether you are on a business trip, quick weekend away, or family holiday, the pain associated with lost or delayed luggage can spoil your trip.

Figures published worldwide show that millions of passengers every year suffer the inconvenience of mishandled baggage.

One airline estimates that the number of bags handled per month has increased by 25% since the new hand luggage restrictions were introduced. This must play a significant part in the increase in mishandled baggage. Figures published by the Association of European Airlines, based on 23 members data, showed that system wide in the second quarter of 2007 (April June) 16 bags per 1,000 handled were delayed or lost this is an average figure, one airline reported 28 per 1,000!

Mishandled luggage falls into several categories: delayed (missed the flight), lost, damaged or stolen.

Delayed baggage approximately 98% of all baggage classified as delayed is returned to its owners.

Damaged or stolen – when you collect your luggage from the carousel, check the tag to ensure that it really is your case, check for signs of damage or tampering and report problems immediately before leaving the airport.

Although we cannot ensure that the airline puts our baggage on the plane, we can take steps to reduce the likelihood of loss or damage to our baggage and, if the worst happens, help in the return of your luggage if it is misplaced.

The following tips are designed to help you pack and what to do in the event of your luggage being mishandled:

Packing

Before packing, check your suitcase carefully; check the seams, fabric and zips to ensure that it will withstand the rough treatment it could receive by the baggage handlers. If you are in any doubt, replace your suitcase. Go for sturdy luggage, good quality luggage, however, be aware that having expensive looking luggage can be a beacon to luggage thieves expensive luggage suggests expensive contents.

Remove loose straps or other items hanging from your case and make sure that you have removed old luggage tags and tagged your bags with your new destination address and contact details.

Dont over pack your case, if its bulging at the seams it stands more chance of bursting open and you could loose items. Its better to pack two suitcases and pay extra than risk loss or damage to your belongings.

A common cause of delayed or lost baggage is late check-ins avoid wherever possible.

Write an inventory of everything you pack, keep a note of the make, model and colour of your case if your suitcase is lost it will assist you in your claim. Quite often you can forget something important that youve packed and neglect to claim for it. Receipts help to prove the value of the items and age.

Put your name and address inside each piece of luggage to help identify you luggage should the exterior labels become detached.

Pack valuables, jewellery, house keys, mobile phones, cameras, passports, visas, documents etc. in your hand luggage airlines often have clauses in their terms and conditions stating that they do not accept responsibility for such items.

Make sure your travel insurance covers your luggage, particularly when the airline is in control of it. Should your luggage be damaged, delayed or lost your airline is responsible under the Montreal Convention, but its still wise to make sure you have covered your baggage with your insurance.

If youre travelling with a companion or family, split the luggage ensuring you pack clothes for each traveller in each case, that way, if your bag is lost or delayed you will have clothes to change into.

Dont pack anything in your case that you cant do without, such as essential medicines check with your airline before travelling due to current liquid restrictions.

Dont forget to lock your luggage.

When checking in baggage, make sure that the airline tags your bags with the correct travel details and make sure you keep hold of your ticket luggage tags.

What to do in the event of mishandled luggage

If your luggage doesnt arrive in the baggage reclaim area, report it immediately, and do not leave the airport before completing the paperwork for your lost luggage. Try to get contact details to follow up your claim. Some airlines have websites where you can track you lost baggage with a tracking number given to you at the time of your claim, others deal with lost luggage via telephone. Make sure you get as much information about your claim as possible and give as much information about your luggage and contact details before leaving the airport.

The Montreal Convention requires airlines to treat a bag as lost after twenty-one days. You may be asked to provide a list of the items that were in your missing bag and possibly for receipts. The amount you can claim from the airline is capped under the Montreal Convention, so you may find you will get a better settlement figure by claiming from your travel insurance.

Under the Montreal Convention claims should be made to an airline in writing with the following specified time limits:

Damaged baggage seven days from the receipt of the bags

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Delayed baggage twenty-one days from delivery

Lost baggage no time limit specified in the Convention – but passengers are advised to make the complaint as soon as possible after the bag has been missing for twenty-one days, or after the airline has declared the bag lost if sooner.

Trialling of new radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging technology is due to take place in the UK shortly, but in the meantime, by following the above advice you should minimise the likelihood of damage, delay and loss of your luggage.

Paula Garrett is a frequent traveller. For further information and guidance on how to prevent

lost luggage at Birmingham airport

and for airline contact details check out

Birmingham airport information

.

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