Tips for Retrieving Your Lost Luggage During International Transit

Recovering lost luggage during transit should be your last resort, following a thorough prevention strategy.

Although the chances of luggage going completely missing are rare, delays, mishandling, and damage can occur.

In fact, statistics show that approximately 97% of reported missing luggage is recovered within two days, with less than 5% remaining permanently lost (according to StudentUniverse).

If you find yourself in a situation where your luggage is missing, here are the steps you can take to increase your chances of recovering it promptly:

Stay Calm and Composed

In such frustrating situations, it’s crucial to remain calm and composed.

Tips for Retrieving Your Lost Luggage During International Transit

Panicking and getting upset will hinder your ability to think clearly and take appropriate action. Instead, focus on the following steps:

Contact the Airline

As soon as you notice that your luggage is missing, reach out to the airline’s customer service. They will likely request information such as your baggage claim tag number, flight details, and a description of your luggage.

It’s always advisable to have your luggage properly identified, either by using visible tags or even investing in a GPS luggage tracker.

File a Lost Luggage Report

Most airlines require passengers to fill out a lost luggage report, either online or in person. Make sure to keep a copy of this report for your records, as it may be useful for reference or to escalate the matter if necessary.

Check Your Travel Insurance

If you have travel insurance, review your policy to determine if it covers lost luggage. If it does, contact the insurance company to initiate a claim.

Remember, it’s essential to purchase insurance that specifically includes coverage for lost luggage to ensure you’re protected when such incidents occur.

Coordinate with the Airport

If you suspect that your luggage might be delayed, contact the airport’s baggage service office to inquire about any available information.

Don’t settle for bureaucratic red tape; insist on getting the answers you need. Ask relevant questions such as:

  • Can you locate my luggage?
  • When can I expect an update from your company regarding my missing luggage?
  • Whom should I contact for updates on my missing luggage?
  • Will the airline deliver my luggage to my location once it is found?

The airport staff should be able to provide you with the necessary information and assistance.

Get in Touch with the TSA

Contact the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) lost and found department if you suspect that your luggage may have been lost or stolen during a security checkpoint. The TSA should respond promptly, as any incidents reflect a lack of competency on their part.

Utilize Social Media

Some airlines have dedicated customer service teams that monitor social media platforms. Consider sending a tweet or posting on the airline’s Facebook page, providing detailed information about your missing luggage. Be sure to include specific details such as colors, markings, and any distinctive features that can help identify your luggage.

Check with Your Hotel

Occasionally, airlines may deliver misplaced luggage to your hotel. Contact the hotel’s front desk or concierge to check if your luggage has been received.

Explore Luggage Tracking Services

Certain airlines and baggage handling companies offer tracking services that allow you to monitor the location of your luggage. Check if your airline provides this service and utilize it to track your missing luggage.

Contact Local Authorities

If you suspect that your luggage has been stolen, reach out to the local authorities and file a police report. They may be able to investigate the matter and help recover your belongings if they have indeed been stolen.

Exercise Patience

The process of recovering lost luggage can be time-consuming. Be patient and maintain regular follow-up with the airline and other relevant agencies until your luggage is found.


When should I report my missing luggage to the airline?

It’s crucial to report your missing luggage to the airline as soon as you realize it is missing. Delaying the report may make it more difficult to locate your luggage.

What information should I provide when filing a lost luggage report with the airline?

When filing a lost luggage report, you should provide the airline with your baggage claim tag number, flight information, and a detailed description of your luggage.

Will I receive compensation if my luggage is lost or stolen?

Different airlines have varying compensation policies for lost or stolen luggage. Check with your airline to understand their specific policy. In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation for the value of your luggage and its contents.

Can I take legal action against the airline if my luggage is lost or stolen?

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to pursue legal action against the airline if your luggage is lost or stolen. Consult with a lawyer to explore your options.


Recovering lost luggage can be a time-consuming process. However, by following these steps, you can enhance your chances of locating your missing luggage and continue enjoying your trip.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so take necessary precautions such as keeping important documents, like travel insurance and passports, in your carry-on bag to avoid any heart-wrenching experiences. Bon voyage!