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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [2-14] Lost Baggage

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
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The US domestic baggage liability limit is a maximum of $1,250.00 per
passenger. (The DOT is proposing to raise this limit to $1,850,
possibly $2,000, and maybe indexing it to the inflation rate.)  Some
airlines may provide greater limits for checked/unchecked baggage.
For international flights, the baggage liability limit is
approximately $9.07 per pound ($20 per kilogram) for checked baggage
and $400 per passenger for unchecked baggage. A minimum waiting period
of one week is required before baggage can be declared lost. About 98%
of bags reported missing are returned to the owners.

When a bag is declared loss, you will have to submit paperwork to the
airline documenting the value of the bags and their contents. You may
not necessarily get full value for all the lost items. Reimbursement
will come 2-6 weeks later. 

Airlines will not reimburse for currency, photographic or electronic
equipment (e.g., cameras, stereos, VCRs, camcorders, CD players,
telephones, etc.), rare and expensive jewelry or artistic works, or
medication, unless prior arrangements were made (e.g., excess
valuation insurance was purchased). Some credit cards will cover these
items if the tickets were purchased with the card.

Most lost baggage doesn't disappear to the same black hole that eats
socks from your laundry, but eventually makes its way to regional
warehouses owned by the airlines. If the airline can't identify the
owner, they sell it at auction, just like the post office's lost
letter department does. Airlines keep all unclaimed baggage for three
months before selling it at auction. There are even stores that
specialize in buying the lost baggage, sorting the contents, and
selling the merchandise and clothing that's in good condition. The
Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, is one such store,
and a fun place to visit.

If your bags are damaged, the airline will either fix them, reimburse
you for the cost of repairs, give you new bags, or pay for the cost of
replacing them, depending on the amount of damage. You must report any
damage within 7 days. If your bags are damaged before you check them,
the airlines will ask you to sign a damage waiver at check in, which
states the nature of the damage and exempts the airline for that
damage. Otherwise, if the bags arrive damaged and the airline didn't
have you sign a waiver, the airline is fully liable for the condition
of the bags. Normal wear and tear, of course, is not subject to a
damage claim. Carry-on bags are not subject to damage claims, except
in clear cases of airline negligence (e.g., flight attendant moves
your bags, damaging them).

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [2-13] Hub Cities
Next Document: [2-15] Baggage Limits

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM