When packing your carry-on bag for your next vacation, a good rule of thumb is to have two days of clothes packed. The thought is that if your checked baggage would be lost, you would have two days’ worth of clothes, and the clothes you were wearing, until they found your luggage.
After many trips to Europe, I learned that two days’ worth of clothes in your carry-on is the perfect amount. It gets me through the first two days without having to open my larger luggage. On the other hand, I decided that I wasn’t going to lug around that huge suitcase anymore. I was tired of herding around the luggage carousel like a cow at feeding time. After a long flight waiting for my luggage to come out was even more tiring. I learned to go to Europe having only my carry-on allowance and never checking a bag again. Since having kids, I now have to check my luggage because it is impossible for me to lug suitcases and kids through an airport. So now my worst fear when I travel is that the airline will lose my checked luggage.
Questions run through my head like: What if they lose my bag? Will I have to find a store to buy the kid’s more clothes and shoes? How long will it take for them to find it? What if they don’t find? How long before they let me know if they have no idea where my luggage really is? Will I be reimbursed for these precious belongings?
Well, my worst fear happened to us. We didn’t lose a piece of our luggage but they lost our car-seat. Yes, the one thing that you truly need when transporting a child, the airline misplaced it. What did we have to do? It was actually quite simple and painless, and exactly what you would do if they lost a piece of your luggage. You need to go to the airline’s customer service counter located in the baggage claim area. Talk with their representative and tell them your baggage did not come out of the carousel. This is where you will start to fill out paperwork so you can start your claim. Most airlines will reimburse you for any checked baggage fees you had paid. For us, they provided us with a car seat that they had.
If your carry-on baggage was flagged to go under the plane and it was misplaced, do the same thing. Thanks to the US Department of Transportation, if an airline loses your carry-on luggage they are required to reimburse your carry-on fees for all flight segments and any “reasonable expenses” if they completely lose it, damage it, or it is has been delayed.
Remember to make sure to put your claim paperwork in a safe spot. Better yet, take a picture of the paperwork on your phone so even if you misplace it you still have a digital copy of it. Having piece of mind about what to do if your luggage is misplaced and two days worth of clothes in your carry-on makes Life Better Traveling!
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