Lost or delayed luggage: you are entitled to airline compensation

You are entitled to compensation for cabin luggage if it's lost, delayed, or damaged and if it’s the airline's fault. You should report this situation straight away or usually within 7 days of your flight: acting quickly is your best chance to get a quick compensation. If you have travel insurance, you should file the claim with them.

What will the airline pay for?

The airline will probably cover part of the essential needs such as underwear or toiletries and the replacing or reparations of the luggage. If you must collect it from another place, transportation should be covered. Airline companies won't pay for “new for old” things, anything of great value, things that are fragile or perishable, not more than £1,000 total compensation and consequences that your luggage caused such as missed connections.

Report immediately!

You are not legally obliged to report this problem, but if you do this as soon as possible, the chances of getting compensation increases significantly. Also, don´t forget after reporting the situation, to make a claim for compensation and to keep a written confirmation that the airline received your claim.

Claims deadlines

Different airlines have different deadlines but most of them have 21 days to recover your luggage. If this doesn't happen within 21 days, you can claim compensation for delayed and/or lost luggage.

What you're claiming for Deadline for claiming
Damaged luggage 7 days after getting your luggage
Missing or damaged contents 7 days after getting your luggag
Delayed or missing luggage 21 days after the flight
Lost luggage - it’s officially lost after 21 days As soon as possible after it’s officially lost

Required claim documentation

This is what you will need to have:

  • Boarding card
  • Luggage labels
  • Proof you reported the problem
  • Receipts for things you had to buy because of a delay
  • Proof of purchase for lost or damaged things
  • Photos of any damage to your luggage or contents
  • Cost estimates for any repairs you’re claiming for

How to make the compensation claim?

Usually, airlines have a procedure or a form to file a claim, if they don´t, you should write them a letter that includes this following sentence as a proof you know your rights: “claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention” . The letter should also include:

  • Details of your flight
  • What happened to your luggage
  • How much money you’re asking for
  • A detailed description of everything that’s damaged or lost
  • A list or everything you had to buy because of a delay
  • Copies of all the documents you need

If you flew with more than 1 airline, you can file the claim to any of them.

If you are not happy with the outcome

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your claim for compensation you can try complaining to the CAA or to a small claims court within 2 years of the flight. Citizens Advice consumer helpline will guide you through by calling 0808 223 1133.