One of the first questions that comes to mind when realizing your bag is delayed or lost is “Can I get compensation?”. The answer is YES – if you follow the rules for registering your lost luggage and -in the case of delay- if the delay exceeds a certain timeframe.
Before leaving the luggage reclaim hall, go to the airline desk where you’ll be given a copy of the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) that’s used by airline staff to record the details. While this isn’t a legal requirement, and there maybe a reason why it’s not possible to get one (an unmanned desk at a small airport, for example) you’re still entitled to claim. But without a PIR, the process is likely to be more of an uphill battle.
In the case of delayed luggage the entitlement to compensation depends on a number of factors. Among others the duration of the delay, the location where you boarded your plane and the fact if it concerns your outbound or inbound journey. If an airline loses or damages your bag and you file a claim in the United States, the Department of Transportation requires that the airline compensates you for the value of the bag and its contents, up to a maximum of $3,300. If you file a claim overseas, the Montreal Convention regulations apply; these stipulate that airlines provide up to $1,750 in compensation, depending on the exchange rate. For passengers boarding a plane within the European Union the EU Air Passenger Rights apply – stating that if your registered luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline, up to about €1,220.
In order to get compensation you can either place your claim yourself directly with the airline, or make use of the services of companies like EUclaim.