How To Claim Lost/Damaged/Delayed Baggage Compensation In USA

Know-Your-Rights-For-Damaged-Delayed-or-Lost-Baggage-When-It-Happens-in-USA

Last Updated on Apr 5th, 2024 by Heena Ganotra, Leave a Comment

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

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

Liability Limits for Delayed Baggage Compensation | Damage & Lost Baggage Limits

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. Hence, they owe you compensation for lost baggage or even damaged one in general. It is, however, subject to maximum limits on liabilities. 

Liabilities For US Domestic FlightsLiabilities For International 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.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.

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.

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. However, certain items fall on the list of prohibited items for checked baggage and should be avoided at all costs. 

Delayed Baggage Insights

When your bag gets delayed, the airline you fly with is responsible for locating the same and even paying compensation for delayed luggage. 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

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.

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.

Lost Baggage Compensation

After the bag is considered lost, the airline is responsible for baggage lost compensation, that is, 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.

Airlines Lost Baggage Compensation – Rules & Policies 

Wondering what different airline lost baggage compensation rules look like? Let’s get started! 

United Airlines Lost Baggage Compensation :

A united lost baggage compensation or claim is only given after the lost luggage has been declared lost between 15-30 days from the date of the missing baggage report. For domestic lost baggage the United Airlines compensation is about 3,800 USD approx while for international lost luggage it is 1780 USD. 

In case of a United delayed baggage compensation, the same is given only if you are not able to find your lost luggage within the next 72 hours. 

American Airlines Lost Baggage Claim :

In case of lost baggage, the airline announces the same after around 30 days or sooner. Once, this announcement has been made, you need to file a new claim stating the items lost and the receipts of the items purchased during the period to get an American Airlines lost baggage claim within time. 
If your baggage has been delayed, contact the staff of American Airlines immediately so that the agent can tell you the last location where your bag was scanned. In the case of claiming baggage delay compensation by United, an online lost form regarding the same needs to be filled.

Air India Lost Baggage Claim:

In case of delayed baggage with Air India, you need to file a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). However, if your baggage has been lost, that is, within 21 days of filing a PIR, the Air India airline will compensate you to some extent.  For more information, do check out our guide on Air India’s lost baggage claim and tracking. 

In case you are flying with some other airlines, do check out their baggage policies in detail. 

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 the original purchase price.

What All Is Included Under Assistive Devices? 

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is United Airlines delayed baggage compensation given to the passengers? 

A: In case of delayed or lost baggage, the airline provides a united baggage delay compensation to its passengers as per its policies. 

Q: Are headphones a part of assistive devices?

A: Hearing aids fall under the category of assistive devices but not headphones.

Q: Are there any compensations if my baggage gets lost in Australia?

A: Yes, there is compensation for lost, damaged, or delayed baggage in Australia and you can claim it if required. 

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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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