Rights if the airline lost your luggage

Did the airline lose your luggage? Read about your rights to get compensation here


Since travel insurances generally cover delayed, damaged or lost luggage, you should always as the insurance company for compensation, if you have signed-up for travel insurance.

If you as a passenger have not taken out any travel insurance or your travel insurance does not cover the specific situation, you can get help from Consumer Europe which can advise the passenger as to how the compensation can be achieved through the airline

Rights of delayed or lost luggage

To be able to claim the compensation you should send a written complain no later than 21 days after the airline delivered you delayed luggage or the date they lost your luggage. In this complain you should state the amount of the expenses that you have incurred by the delay, loss or damage of your luggage. 

When delivering your compensation claim to the airline, you should attach documentation of reasonable compensatory purchases and if possible get a (Property Irregularity Report) PIR in the airport documenting that the luggage has been damaged, delayed or lost. The PIR can usually be acquired at the airline's counters in the terminal of arrival.

Compensatory purchases of delayed or lost luggage

Flight passengers are entitled to buy reasonable necessities when the luggage is delayed or lost. Reasonable necessities can be considered as e.g. underwear, t-shirts, medicine, charger for phone or computer. When defining what is reasonable, you should always be taking into account the circumstances of your journey. If you're going to a business meeting, wedding or funeral, could it, for example, be reasonable to lease suit or a dress.

It is essential that you do not make any unreasonable large compensatory purchases and only buy what is needed. Reasonable expenses can always be claimed compensated by the travel insurance or the airline. How much you as a passenger is entitled to spend when making your compensatory purchases depend on how long the luggage has been lost and where your journey has taken you. In addition to getting your compensatory purchases reimbursed, passengers can ask to be compensated for up to 1350 euro for luggage that has been lost.

Even though luggage sometimes is delayed or altogether lost, is it shown in the aviation information company SITA´s report that in 2015 was 7.3 problems with luggage for every 1000 flight passengers (equal to 0,73%). The airlines have learned from the many claims of compensation as a cause of luggage irregularities which is why today it is much rarer and more of an exception rather than a rule, that the airlines commit mistakes with your luggage.

Advises when the luggage is delayed or damaged:

  • Always investigate to what extent your travel insurance covers your loss before making any claims towards the airline.

  • Save the receipts of all your expenses to claim the reimbursement of those at a later time.

  • Avoid making expensive compensatory purchases (buy what's necessary and reasonable).

  • Always get a PIR in the airport, to document the delay or damage of your luggage.


Did you know that if your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours or the flight is cancelled you can be entitled to economic compensation amounting up to 600 EUR. Read everthing about flight passenger rights here.

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