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How to Recover Lost Luggage

If your suitcase has failed to follow you to the airport, this guide will help you track down your lost luggage before it hits the auction block.


  • Step 1: Check the other carousels Check the baggage carousels from other arriving flights. Luggage is sometimes misdirected as it is unloaded and transported.
  • TIP: Use a brightly colored bag, tag, or strap so you can spot your suitcase easier and to aid in locating your lost luggage.
  • Step 2: Report lost luggage Report your lost luggage to your carrier's baggage service office inside the airport as soon as possible. Don't leave without filing a claim.
  • Step 3: Keep the checked baggage claim ticket Keep your checked baggage claim ticket as well as your boarding pass to help supply the airline with tracking information.
  • Step 4: List contents Make a detailed list of your luggage's contents and give it to the airline in case your bag was torn open, stolen, or destroyed.
  • TIP: Do not lie about the contents of your luggage. Federal law will compensate you with a maximum of $2,500 for the lost luggage.
  • Step 5: Hire an aviation attorney Hire an aviation attorney as a last resort to collect restitution in excess of $2,500 or if problems arise in finding your luggage.
  • FACT: In 2006, 68 pieces of stolen luggage were found in a trash container outside a pet store near George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

You Will Need

  • Lost-baggage report
  • Checked baggage claim ticket
  • Boarding pass
  • Detailed list of items
  • Aviation attorney
  • Brightly colored bag
  • tag
  • or strap (optional)

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