The Lost Luggage Procedure

Lost Luggage Procedure

Have your bags ever fallen victim to the bottomless pit of lost luggage? If you’re a frequent flyer and the airlines haven’t lost your luggage before then consider yourself fortunate. As frustrating as it is when the airlines lose your luggage I guess you have to put it down to human error… these things happen. At the same time it can be an extremely annoying experience when you’re not sure of the lost luggage procedure.

What to do if your luggage is lost

Having baggage insurance is one thing but most of us will agree that we want to get our original belongings back. There are some precautions you can take that’ll ensure you never lose valuable luggage.

  • Pack your valuable items in your carry-on luggage. Many airlines won’t cover valuables that get lost or stolen in your check-in items. This includes passports, cameras and cellphones, money and jewellery.
  • As a general rule; pack your clothes, shoes and toiletries in your check-in luggage and all your super important stuff in your carry-on luggage.
  • Hold on to that little barcoded ticket you’re given when you check your bags in. The ground staff will usually stick it on the back of your boarding pass.

Initiate the lost luggage procedure

Sometimes, through no fault of your own, the airlines will lose your luggage. In the event of your luggage going AWOL, don’t panic. Follow our lost luggage guidelines

  • Initiate the lost luggage procedure by filing a claim at the airport (where you’ve realised your luggage is missing) as soon as possible.
  • When you file your lost luggage claim, make sure you leave the attendant with a valid address and phone number so that you’re easily reachable and so the airline can deliver your bags when they’re found.

The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.” – Mark Russell

Find out more about SAA’s lost luggage policy.

Traceable luggage tags

Traceable luggage tags are a nifty invention that gives you more control over the whereabouts of your luggage when it’s out of your sight. Traceable luggage tags are a GPS locator for lost luggage and will be a cost that you will incur so that your chances of losing your luggage are vastly decreased. They work on a global scale and will give you peace of mind for those long haul flights where multiple connecting flights and stopovers can increase your chances of losing your luggage.

Did you know? 53% of South African travellers would rather deal with the possibility of contracting swine flu than run the risk of losing their luggage.

Feel free to share your lost luggage tips below. If there’s something we’ve missed then our readers can benefit from your personal lost luggage experience.

Image by: GenBug


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Our Readers Comments

  1. lost my bags wth emerates on2007 from jhb (OR Thambo)was going to Dubai& they refused to payout my claim. if my bags can be located i’ll appreciate.

  2. I booked my flight on One Time T6 100 Cape Town to JHB OR Thambo 16 April 2011. My baggage tag number T6 336229 were lost. I reported it my reference number is JNBT611/D/0328. up to this point i had no luck finding it. Can you help?
    Regards.
    Alex Botha

    • Hi Alex, Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately we cannot help with lost luggage, you have to speak to the airline directly for that. Between them and ACSA, they are the ones who handle the luggage and are the only people who can track it and find it for you. Keep bugging them and try to get one name who you bug every day – if you annoy them enough, they’ll make a special effort to get your problem sorted. Try to speak to a supervisor.

  3. Lost my luggage on SAA FLIGHT NO.SA 542 FROM DURBAN TO JOHANNESBURG ON THE 3RD OF MAY 2012 ON MY WAY TO NAMIBIA FLYING AIR NAMIBIA FLIGHT NO.SW0701 ALSO ON THE 3RD OF MAY.I ONLY REALISED MY LUGGAGE WAS LOST WHEN I ARRIVED IN NAMIBIA.MY FINAL DESTINATION WAS SIERRA LEONE VIA GHANA I FILLED A FORM IN NAMIBIA THAT I LOST MY LUGGAGE AND THAT WAS THE END UP UNTIL TODAY.PLEASE ASSIST ME TRACKING MY LUGGAGE

  4. Hi Johannes,

    We do not deal with these kinds of requests. This article is purely about what one should do in the event that one loses their luggage.

    Please contact the airline concerned directly.

    SAA Lost Luggage
    Air Namibia Lost Luggage

  5. Emirates lost my luggage six days ago … on a flight from JHB to Cyprus via Dubai … I have not heard a word from them and they do not answer my emails! Emirates are a disgrace

    • the airline would have given you a file number and a contact number. the luggage will be traced on a world wide tracer with all airlines they will contact you once the baggagfe makes it to its final destionation some bags are taken in error by other passengers in error call a bag switch ensure your name is on your suitcase and leave time for tracing. if the tag fell off the bag or the handle broke and there is no name on the baggage it can take up to a week to get back depending on the time of year

  6. the luggage of the ENTIRE FLIGHT SA333 from joburg to cape town did not arrive on the 6th of July arr cpt due 14.00 hrs.. arrived an hour late because the plane was waiting for …. luggage.. what was on the plane did not belong to it’s passengers.. pandemonium.. trying to get it all back to day.. hectic

  7. On 2 Sept 2014. My hand luggage was taken from me by a Cabin Crew staff on board an Emirates aircraft. I was told on disembarking the aircraft in Dubai, that my bag had been sent to the hold and I should collect at my destination, Durban South Africa. I ask how my bag would be identified to me and he said that I must keep my boarding stubb and that he would tag bag accordingly….my luggage never arrived!! I cant seem to get any assistance from Emirates.as my baggage was not tagged and they wont give me a reference for baggage report. I had all my valuables in that bag as well as my purchased gifts as I was instructed by check in staff to remove all valuables from check-in luggage. This is a case of sheer negligence and I fell totally violated and anxious at the lack of assistance from Emirates. I would like a full investigation into locating my luggage. And I am reluctantly considering opening a case of possible theft, but honestly hope that will not be necessary! Emirates Airlines has a well known reputation, which is associated with its example of excellent service, which I am sure they wish to maintain! Hope this can help someone else from falling prey to the same terrible ordeal!

  8. On my return flight from HK this week thuesday evening the 24th my baggage were lost.
    I did ask a person at SA when I checked in..but they had no idea what I was talking about..
    I just left O Thambo airport!!
    How/ were can I find it, or is it just my bad luck. We were 3 friend travelling together, we booked in same time on same line in KH, switch over at Dubai.
    This was my firts flight ever, and hopefully my last..
    Please let me know what to do.
    marius kruger
    082 414 0717

    • Hi Marius,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Sorry to hear of this unfortunate experience. This is never a great thing to experience when traveling.

      You would need to contact the airline directly who you flew with and they will be able to assist on the correct procedures to follow.

      When you checked in your bags they would have tagged them with a sticker. The other sticker with the same code would go on your boarding pass. This is like a luggage receipt / traceable luggage tag for you to keep, should it go missing.

      You would need to contact the airline directly who you traveled with and they will be able to assist accordingly on giving the correct procedures to follow and what forms to complete. If you have taken out Baggage / Travel Insurance you could read through it as see what you are covered for.

  9. My baggage were lost from HK vua Dubai to SA.
    just my bad luck I guess.

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