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Experts give advice to avoid losing baggage while travelling this holiday season


For many, the holiday season means travelling to see family and friends, but a misplaced bag can ruin a winter trip.

The days leading up to Christmas and New Year are some of the busiest flying dates of the year, and with even more bags moving, the chance of a mistake grows.

According to aviation data company SITA, 26 million bags of luggage worldwide were either misplaced or lost by airlines in 2022.

However, in Canada, there are protections in place.

“While your baggage is delayed, you can go out and incur reasonable out of pocket expenses that are necessary, for the purpose of your trip, up to approximately $2,300 Canadian,” said Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights.

Before 21 days the baggage is considered delayed. After that it’s lost.

Mike Harvey, managing director at 1st Move International, gives six things you can do to improve the odds of your bag making it back to you:

  •  opt for direct flights, over those with a layover
  •  remove old airline stickers and tags from your belongings
  •  use a luggage tag that is sturdy, visible and distinct
  •  include a paper version of your details and itinerary in your suitcase
  •  get a GPS luggage tracker
  •  take a photo of your baggage before check-in

If your bag is lost despite that, you're entitled to up to that $2,300 in expenses, or in worst case scenario, to replace what’s lost, but only if it is legitimately lost.

“When they do know where it is, or you could even tell them, ‘Hey, the bag is at this location, I can track it,’ and they’re still not making an effort to find it, then it is willful misconduct,” said Lukacs. “Then the airline has to pay you everything.”

You have 21 days after a bag is lost to file a complaint in writing with the airline, if they don’t pay within 30 days you can take them to small claims court.

According to the report, you’re eight times more likely to lose a bag on an international flight, so the farther you’re going the more careful you should be, and the more familiar you should make yourself with what to do in case of a lost bag.

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