Growing up, I remember spending most of my holiday beginnings and endings at the airport. I pride myself with being well traveled. I schooled in a different state (#QCOG!) and stayed in another and thanks to this, I was known by the airline officials either by face or by name because of how frequently I traveled.
I’ve gone round most of the famous Nigerian airlines from ADC to Arik to Air Peace to Overland in my years of wakabout and I’ve experienced quite a number of things with them.
Fast forward to present day 2018, I still travel often. I mean,in the past 3 weeks, I’ve been on 3 different flights, something right?
And because of this, I have first experience in a whole lot of travel drama. From emergency landings, to missing luggage, to destroyed luggage, to ‘what luggage did you check in?’ If you can name it, I know about it.
I’ve had my luggage misplaced by different airlines a couple of times but luckily, they always found their way back to me. Still, I have panicked and gone through the missing luggage protocol while waiting for it to finally be returned because one can never be too sure. Especially when flying with local airlines.
I’ll be sharing some tips that have over time proved to be useful when my bags do a disappearing act.
- Report your bag lost immediately.
If after waiting for the entire luggage to be brought out from the plane and yours is nowhere in sight, find your way to the airlines office or help desk. Inform the officials of the situation and ensure you get a name and number of the highest ranking officer for follow up and accountability. Also, drop your contact information so they can reach you if need be.
You will be asked to describe what it looks like and itemize the contents of the box. That way, the airport staff know what to be on the lookout for. And it also gives an idea of how much they have to budget for.
- Leave the airport to your accommodation.
You honestly don’t want to waste time waiting in the airport because the chances that the airline officials will find your property is slim especially if they can’t confirm it was on another flight. But if you want to wait it out, be my guest. You may be required to come back a number of times (as discussed with the officials) to check each time some boxes are found.
- Make copies of your luggage tags/ claim tickets.
You know those things they stick behind your boarding pass that are torn off the bag tags? Yes, make copies as proof. You can also just take clear photos of it.
- Don’t let yourself be pushed over.
Some airline officials might want to intimidate you, especially if you’re a minor, into letting things slide. But you should stand your ground and stay unwavering.
- Know your rights.
Don’t be afraid to exercise them and speak up for yourself. If you’re not sure what they are, quickly do a search online and check the airlines website.
- Be polite always.
To a fault. Keep a level head and speak clearly, firmly but always stay polite.Doing this leaves a good impression and can make the process swifter and work to your benefit.
- Be patient.
Some airlines have a waiting period after which you are entitled to reimbursements.
- Ask for a refund or voucher.
Once you’ve established that the bag is actually missing, you can ask for a refund or payment from the airline in any form. This is usually negotiated by you and an airline employee.
Pro tip: To be on the safe side, I make sure I take pictures of my boxes especially when its time to identify them just before boardig, that way, its easy to describe what it looks like if it goes missing. Also, remove all prior tags from the boxes/ bags to avoid mix up of information. And last but not least, avoid putting important documents and devices in checked in luggage to avoid stories that touch.
With these tips, I wish you the very best and hope you can either get your luggage eventually or get adequate reimbursement for them.
Love and Light,