TRAVEL TIP | There’s nothing more infuriating after a long flight than waiting, and waiting, and waiting at the baggage carousel for your suitcase, only to find that it hasn’t arrived.
While most ‘mishandled’ bags are eventually reunited with their owners, sweating it out in the interim can be a challenge in itself: particularly if your suitcase has the bulk of your clothing or important goodies like commercial samples for your own business or presentation.
For starters, it’s important to remain calm – you’re not the first passenger to lose their bag and certainly won’t be the last, and there’s nothing you can do right now to change that.
Instead, file the obligatory report with the baggage services staff at the airport. It helps if you can clearly describe your bag in detail: a “black hard shell four-wheel Samsonite Firelite 75cm spinner” is a lot more useful than a “black bag”, which won’t help your situation.
Once filed you’ll get a 10-character reference number…
… but what the printed letter forgets to mention is that regardless of the airline you travelled with, your reference number is linked to ‘WorldTracer’, the software program and website that helps to find and return your bag.
On reaching your hotel, make your next step checking your contact details in WorldTracer: easily done by visiting this website and entering your name and baggage reference number.
While good-intentioned, airport ground staff may have mistyped your preferred delivery address or phone number in the system – checking and updating these details as necessary will ensure your bag can be delivered as soon as it’s found, and that you’ll be notified ASAP.
Now that the admin tasks are all sorted, contact your travel insurer to check what you’re entitled to claim, as passengers with delayed baggage can normally be reimbursed for the cost of buying necessary clothes, toiletries and supplies up to a reasonable limit.
That’s not to say you can splash out on a $1,000 suit just because you’ve planned lunch with a client, but if you need basic business attire before heading to the office, appropriate dress shoes, a razor and shaving cream or anything else reasonable, it’s a fair claim to make.
It almost goes without saying, but keep the receipts for any of these expenses – you’ll need them to support your insurance claim, or to send to your company for possible reimbursement if your travel insurer won’t play ball.
Finally, periodically check back with WorldTracer. Once your bag is found, you’ll be able to see its planned ‘route of reconciliation’…
…and a quick Google search of each flight number should give you an idea of how long it’ll take to reach you.
If you’ll be waiting another day or two, you may be entitled to further compensation from your travel insurer to cover more clothes and amenities, allowing you to remain presentable until the bag eventually returns: decorated with many more labels than when you last saw it.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT