Is It Possible to Sue an Airline for Lost Luggage?

If your luggage is lost by an airline, they have to reimburse you. But sometimes, airlines don’t give you a reasonable amount if they spoil your trip or misplace your luggage. If there is a technical issue or if the airline has reason to suspect that your claim is fraudulent, they may reject it. An airline may be sued for misplaced baggage.

Although there is basic information on this website regarding luggage loss, your case can be different. Talk to an aviation law attorney in your area if you have any queries or would like to submit a claim for lost luggage against the airline.

Federal Lost Luggage Laws

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that in 2021, there were over 5% of luggage reports indicating improper handling. To their surprise, most travelers learn that their rights as consumers when interacting with airlines are largely unprotected by federal legislation. An airline flyer’s handbook called Fly Rights was released by the US Department of Transportation, however, it places the onus of compliance squarely on the shoulders of the big airlines.

“Once an airline determines that your bag is lost, the airline is responsible for compensating you for your bags’ contents – subject to depreciation and maximum liability limits,” said the Department of Transportation.

If you have valuables in your checked luggage, the airline may ask you to show receipts or other documentation of their value. In addition, if you pay baggage costs for a checked bag, the airline is required to reimburse you. You can register a complaint online with the DOT if the airline is unable to address your reimbursement claim. Within sixty days, the airline must provide a written response to the complaint.

Travelling internationally and misplacing bags

Travelers on foreign flights might be more protected against missing luggage than those on domestic planes. Claims for lost or damaged luggage on international flights may be subject to the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions. With inflation factored in, the maximum baggage obligation of 1288 SDR under the Special Drawing Rights of the Montreal Convention is almost $1,720.

Additionally, delayed and damaged baggage is covered by international conventions. You have twenty-one days to file a formal complaint, including copies of your receipts and information on your baggage claim if you had to purchase toiletries and other products due to luggage delays. Your luggage is deemed lost after 21 days if it is not located, in which case the airline must reimburse you for the full value of any misplaced belongings.

TSA Damage or Property Stolen from Baggage

In general, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other government agencies do not hold airlines responsible for any baggage loss, damage, or delays resulting from a security search. You should report your loss or theft of property to the TSA if you think it happened during the security check. Provide as many details as you can to back up your claim, such as invoices, estimates, and flight records.

How Would You Go About Suing an Airline?

To avoid going to court, airlines may limit your claims by including them in the fine print when you purchase a ticket. The majority of passengers are unaware of the contents of their airline ticket’s terms and conditions, and carriers may attempt to limit the claims that are covered by their contract of carriage. Many airlines, for instance, state that they cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged fragile, priceless, or perishable goods in carry-on or checked baggage.

In most situations, if you lose property, the airline will ask you to submit a property irregularity report (PIR). Usually, a settlement sum is offered by the airline. If you’ve lost or damaged valuables, an attorney could be able to assist you secure a larger settlement offer. To ensure that the claim is filed in the appropriate court while suing an airline, you might seek legal assistance from an aviation law attorney.

Can I file a small claim court lawsuit for lost luggage?

Without employing an attorney, you might be able to file a lawsuit in your local small claims court for lost or damaged luggage if you are unable to settle with the airline. There are, however, state-specific caps on the maximum amounts you can sue for in small claims court. For instance, in Texas, the maximum amount in dispute in small claims court is $20,000, but in Florida, it is only $8,000 at most. The maximum amount varies by county in states like New York.

Is It Possible for Your Credit Card Company to Pay You Money for Lost Baggage?

Your credit card may provide coverage for misplaced luggage or canceled flights if you used it to purchase your airline ticket. Lost luggage may potentially be covered by homeowners’ or renters’ insurance after your deductible is paid.

Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?

Both lost luggage and losses resulting from delayed luggage should be covered by travel insurance. Refunds for bag fees and the cost of necessary products you had to buy while waiting for the delayed luggage may be available, depending on the type of coverage. But, because some things may be excluded from coverage, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. Make sure the insurance plan includes coverage for any valuables you may be bringing on your trip, such as jewelry, cameras, or electronics.

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