Compensation For Your Lost, Delayed, or Damaged Baggage In USA


Last Updated on Nov 14th, 2023 by Heena Ganotra, Leave a Comment

We all know how overwhelming the India-to-US journey can be! Adding a layer of emotion associated with lost, delayed, or damaged baggage can be truly heavy. But knowing your rights and compensation rules can help your heart be at peace since you would know the amount your airline is liable to pay you.

Let’s understand the nitty-gritty of it all. 

Liability Limits For Delayed/Damaged/Lost Baggage

Airlines are responsible for any bag damage, loss, or delay (and/or its contents) when it happens while the luggage is under the airline’s control during transportation. It is, however, subject to maximum limits on liabilities.

For US Domestic Flights

The maximum liability amount allowed by DOT regulation is $3,800. Airlines are free to pay more than the limit but are not required to do so.

For International Flights

The maximum liability amount allowed by DOT regulation is $1,780 per passenger (1288 SDR – Special Drawing Rights) according to a treaty called the Montreal Convention.

About Damaged Baggage | Exceptions

  • Airlines aren’t required to pay for pre-existing damage to the bag or damages to items caused by improper packing.
  • Airlines aren’t responsible for “certain categories of items (for example fragile items, electronics, cash, perishable items …)” These exclusions are typically listed in the airlines’ contracts of carriage.
  • Although airlines are not required to cover fair wear and tear, they cannot exclude liability for damage to wheels, handles, straps, and other components of checked baggage.

About Damaged Baggage | Compensation

When the damage to the bag cannot be repaired, airlines will negotiate a compensation amount based on the value of the bag and its depreciation. The maximum liability amount allowed by DOT has been shared above. 

  • For DOMESTIC TRAVEL, airlines are not required to compensate passengers for items they have excluded in their contracts of carriage.
  • For INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL (including the domestic segment of an international itinerary), airlines are responsible for these items if they have accepted them for transportation.  This applies even if passengers did not disclose when they checked in stating that these items were packed in the bag.

Passengers may wish to consider purchasing additional insurance for valuable items.

About Delayed Baggage | Insights

When your bag gets delayed, the airline you fly with is responsible for locating the same. It is advisable that you carry your boarding pass at all times since it has the details of your luggage with the help of which the airline staff can help locate your luggage. 

Suggested Read: Compensation For Your Lost, Delayed, or Damaged Baggage When You Arrive In India

About Delayed Baggage | Compensation

Airlines are responsible for paying the passengers for reasonable, verifiable, and actual incidental expenses that they may incur while their bags are delayed – subject to the maximum liability limits.

Insight – Airlines are not allowed to set an arbitrary daily amount for interim expenses.  For example, an airline cannot have a policy that they will reimburse a passenger up to only $50 for each day that a passenger’s bag is delayed.

About Lost Baggage | Insights

While different airlines have different policies to determine when a bag is considered lost, many declare the bag as lost after 7 days of not being able to track the same. 

It also depends on the type of itinerary (international vs. domestic), the number of connections, and other circumstances.

About Lost Baggage | Compensation

After the bag is considered lost, the airline is responsible for compensating you for your bag’s contents – subject to depreciation and maximum liability limits. Airlines are also required to refund any fees you paid the airline to transport the bag that was lost.

Assistive Devices

On domestic flights, airlines’ liability for lost or damaged assistive devices is the original purchase price of the assistive device.  If an airline destroys or loses a $20,000 assistive device during a domestic flight, the airline is liable for $20,000. If an airline damages but doesn’t destroy a $20,000 assistive device, then the airline is liable for the damage up to the cost of original purchase price.

Assistive devices include (but are not limited to):

  • Crutches, Canes, and Walkers
  • Braces/Prosthetics
  • Wheelchairs
  • Hearing aids
  • Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs)
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines
  • Prescription medications and any medical devices needed to administer those medications, such as syringes or auto-injectors

Well, that’s all!

God forbid, the next time you are caught in a situation where you have lost, delayed, or damaged baggage, you’ll know how to deal with the situation better.


And if you are caught in a situation where you want to book a discounted flight from India to USA, we can help. MyTicketsToIndia is the platform you can rely on for transparent flight bookings and 24*7 customer support.

About Heena Ganotra | View Posts

A writer by both passion and profession, Heena Ganotra is "half agony, half hope" but all heart. And oh, she has been a book lover from the start! Her love for books is what convinced her to make a career in the wonderful world of words. She loves what she does and is out-and-out a satisfied soul with a wish to spread happiness like herpes. Insight- Some say she is living the best life anyone could because she reads, writes, travels, and makes merry. They’re right because what else does one really need! :)

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