¿Qué hacer si pierdes la maleta en un vuelo?

(CNN Spanish) — This week thousands of suitcases were stranded at London’s Heathrow airport, at a time when a passenger cap was imposed on airlines due to the rise in traveler demand.

That’s why Delta Air Lines took what it called a “creative” step to solve a massive baggage problem for passengers flying through Heathrow airport. Others might call the move extreme: The airline flew a plane from London to its Detroit hub packed with 1,000 missing bags and zero passengers.

The staff shortage that has caused a service collapse at Heathrow in recent weeks has now been dubbed “airmageddon”. Airport authorities have responded to canceled flights and mass complaints of lost luggage by telling airlines they must limit the number of passengers at one of the world’s busiest airports to 100,000 a day.

At Heathrow and other airports the problem of luggage has become more frequent. What to do if you lose a suitcase, what steps to take and how to solve it? Here we explain:


Travel + Leisure recommends that the best way to deal with a lost suitcase is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. One option, T+L says, is to buy a GPS tracker to put inside any suitcase that can be tracked at the airport via an app.

There are also airlines, such as Qatar Airlines and Delta, that have implemented their own tracking technology within baggage stickers that allows passengers to track your bags, Travel + Leisure explains.

There’s also the obvious: putting on an identification tag with your name and contact information. The TripSavvy travel recommendations page advises to put labels or marks on the suitcases both on the outside and inside of them, use distinctive color labels where possible or use the AirTag, Apple’s tracking device.

One way to avoid incidents is not to travel with overweight or broken luggage.

If your suitcase is lost, follow these steps

Identify what was lost

The key is to know for sure that the bags are missing, explains travel site The Points Guy. Many times people get confused and before panicking, you have to be patient, look for your luggage in all possible places and stay calm.


Contact the airline right away

“Do not leave the airport until you speak with an airline representative,” says the Tripit travel app. The key is to talk to the baggage claim office or check-in counter agent.

For that it is key to have the copy of the registry or the label of the registered suitcase.

Another option is to call the airline if you can’t find a representative. Sometimes you have to fill out forms to file a claim, says Tripit.

If one is on a trip with multiple flights operated by different airlines, The Points Guy recommends contacting the airline of the last flight (the one responsible for the bag in question).

When submitting the report or filling out the form, be sure to ask what the airline is willing to provide as compensation and to what extent it will reimburse you.

Request delivery to your home or lodging

Before leaving the airport you have to ask if there is the option of sending luggage.

Airlines must provide a toll-free number that one can call to receive updates on your lost baggage claim.

The agent or representative you submit the lost baggage report to should be able to provide you with guidelines for the carrier in question, including whether or not you are eligible for a refund of any checked baggage fees you may have paid.

Request a refund of the amount for checked baggage

Travelers should check the airline’s policy on lost luggage, as they may be entitled to compensation, explains The Points Guy.

In cases where a bag is lost for more than 24 hours, airlines may be required to compensate travelers with a clothing allowance.

Some airlines reimburse the cost of checked baggage if the bag is delayed for at least 12 hours after the claim is filed, according to Tripit. That is why immediate notification is key.

The Points Guy says to keep in mind that if you’re returning home from a vacation or business trip, the airline typically doesn’t cover any delayed baggage fees other than returning your luggage.

If they don’t find the suitcase

Most airlines allow you to qualify for compensation after your bags are missing for more than 24 hours, says Tripit. At this point, he submits the airline’s baggage claim form. This form asks you to itemize the value of the lost content and any incidental expenses.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have photos of your luggage, advises Tripit.

Many airlines reimburse up to $50 per day for five days for reasonable incidental expenses for lost or delayed baggage. Those expenses can include clothing, toiletries and a cell phone cord, according to Tripit.

You must keep receipts for each purchase to receive compensation.

The benefits of the credit card

The credit card you used to book your flight might offer lost or delayed baggage benefits, explain Tripit and The Points Guy. It is necessary to notify the credit card company within 20 days to start the process and for that you have to send a proof of loss statement from the airline. and send receipts for lost items.

If you don’t have baggage insurance with your credit card, one option is to have a separate travel insurance policy.

It doesn’t hurt… if you can, travel only with hand luggage

Aviation journalist John Walton recommends packing light and opting to carry carry-on only, if you can. If you need to check bags, pack a couple of days’ worth of clothes and any essentials in your carry-on. Bring snacks, chargers and charge your devices with TV and movies. And wear the most important thing this summer in the midst of global chaos (and at any time): you have to be patient.

With information from Chris Isidore, María Alejandra Requena and John Walton