: 30% of all travellers have had luggage stolen or lost baggage while abroad
Almost 30% of travellers report that they have had their luggage lost or stolen while travelling abroad according to a recent AA poll. Almost 50% of these occurred while travelling to Europe. A further 20% occurred while travelling to the US and the remainder while travelling to destinations as far as Australia, South Africa and Canada. The AA surveyed 11,000 members through its AA Motorists Panel*.
The data shows that Irish people travel a lot; 54% of the 11,000 respondents had been abroad in the last 3 months. Rather shockingly, the results confirm the findings of a previous poll and show that 16% of those travelling had no travel insurance cover at all.
“The number of people reporting luggage problems is certainly very high, but perhaps not altogether shocking for AA Insurance.” Says John Farrell, AA’s Director of Product. “It is a story that we hear regularly through AA Travel Insurance. No matter where you are travelling to, if you have no insurance you are taking a serious gamble.”
“While for the great majority of journeys there are no luggage problems, the more you travel the higher the risk that it will happen to you at some stage.”
Lost baggage rules & liability
The European Commission estimates that more than five million pieces of luggage were lost or damaged in one year alone (National Consumer Agency, 2010) Airlines can often reject liability for inconvenience or stress arising from the incident. How much and when an airline decides to compensate all depend on the particular airline. If your luggage is delayed for less than twenty one days, it is important to be aware that there are no set regulations stating the compensation payments for delayed luggage. The Montreal Convention requires airlines to treat a bag as lost after twenty-one days. In assessing your claim, an airline may request an inventory and receipt of the items that were in the missing bag. Be prepared that the offer of compensation from the airline will be unlikely to match your claim in full. You will almost certainly find that your claim is reduced because of depreciation.
Most airlines take the view that once your bag has turned up you will have future use of the contents and refuse to make any compensation payments.The EU is currently examining the whole issue of air passenger rights, including baggage, but this process is still at an early stage. In the event of any items going missing from luggage, it can be very difficult to prove that the items were there in the first place. You will receive a better settlement from your travel or home contents insurance even after allowing for any excess on the policy. Up to €3,000 can be compensated by AA travel insurance.
Keeping the bags safe: AA advice when travelling abroad
· Check in baggage in plenty of time.
· Make sure your luggage is distinguishable from other bags-use colour, tags etc.
· Print name address and telephone number clearly on the label.
· Ensure labels and tags are attached tightly to withstand pulling on mechanical belts and other stresses it may encounter.
· If you have a connecting flight make sure you check your bag in until the final destination
· Never travel with valuable items such as cameras, jewellery, money and laptops in your checked-in luggage.
· Thieves often linger around carousel belts-make sure you go straight to baggage claim and collect your luggage as soon as possible.
· Check your airline’s policy on emergency supplies. (Airlines will often reimburse passengers for toiletries, clothing, and other essentials)
· Keep receipts and let the airline and your insurer know of any problems as soon as possible.
· Ask for receipts for any essential or additional items you need should you lose your luggage.
· If the incident occurs at an airport, ensure your airline has completed a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) and request a copy for your records. (Note this is not a claim form, it is merely used to trace your baggage)If it occurs outside of the airport, make a report to local policy within 24 hours
EU law states that claims should be made to an airline in writing within the set specified time frames;
· Damaged baggage – seven days from the receipt of the bags
· Delayed baggage – twenty-one days from delivery
· Lost baggage – no time limit specified but we advise making a written complaint as soon as possible after the bag has been missing for twenty-one days. Keep a copy of the complaint.