Last week my husband just came home from his two weeks USA business trip. He was excited to go home but the excitement turned into stressful moments. It started with a delayed flight, he woke as early as 2 AM, checked out and went to the airport.
Upon check-in, he was advised that the 7:15 AM flight will be delayed because the airplane is under maintenance. After an hour, they were advised that the American Airlines plane is still under maintenance and they need to wait for the next airplane from Houston, Texas.
Travel time from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California is 3 hours and 35 minutes so my husband was really worried that he might miss his connecting flight. He was running late but thank God he did not miss the 11 AM flight. He was the last passenger to board, good thing Philippine Airlines waited for him.
Then there was an unexpected stopover at Guam for fuel, which is an additional one hour from the 16hrs flight from LAX to MNL. Long haul flight is really stressful but the moment you landed, you felt relieved because you are back to your home country.
As usual, he went to the baggage carousel to get his checked-in bag only to find out that his luggage is missing. He was the last person at the carousel and one staff already informed him that there is no more luggage. Boom! Lost luggage is one of the scariest things that could happen in your travel.
The staff ushered him to one counter so they could trace his luggage but they could not find it so he filed a Property Irregularity Report - PIR and was advised that they will contact him once they find the luggage. He was asked if he wants to pick-up the luggage or deliver. Of course, he chose the latter at sobrang hassle at gastos pa kung magbayad pa gas, toll at parking.
So my husband went home without luggage, good thing he is back in Manila or else mas mahirap kung walang extra clothes or toiletries. The following day, I told my son about the missing luggage and he cried a bucket of tears because his pasalubong was in the luggage. Parang namatayan sa sobrang iyak, nakakaloka.
It was our anniversary day but we could not celebrate because we were monitoring the luggage. We did not receive a call so my husband emailed and called PAL and he was informed that the luggage was already here in the Philippines. They are still waiting for the Customs to release the luggage so they can deliver it.
At 4PM, my husband followed up again and he was advised that the luggage is on its way na daw. We received the luggage at 6:15PM so it is still less than 24hours. The lock was gone but thank God, no stuff was missing.
The baggage was delivered by Journey Baggage Handling and Transport Inc and I asked them if everyday ba sila nagdedeliver and they said yes. Waah! So this is really a normal case but I hope it won’t happen again. So if you travel by plane, expect unexpected events like this. Here is my advice on
How to deal with Lost Luggage
1. Stay calm. No matter how stress you are, raising your voice or getting mad at the staff with not help you.
2. Make sure that you can describe your luggage or it is better if you have a photo so they can immediately trace it.
3. File a report. Keep the Property Irregularity Report Tag.
4. Get the airline contact information so you can follow-up for your missing luggage. Some airlines have a bag tracer on their website just like the American Airlines. My husband was able to trace his bag so he has an idea that his luggage reached Los Angeles, California.
5. Follow-up. My husband was advised that they will call if they already found the luggage but we did not receive any call. We email and call them to follow-up.
6. Be patient. You need a lot of patient in waiting.
7. Know your rights.
When my husband’s luggage was missing, I was really worried. I read the Summary of the Rights of Air Passengers and I computed the possible cost of the luggage + 2 weeks clothes + 2 shoes + pasalubong. The cost is more than the compensation so I was praying hard that they will find the lost luggage.
Right to Compensation for Delayed, Lost and Damaged Bag
The passenger has the right to:
1. Be informed of the fact of off-loading.
2. P2000 compensation to the passenger for every 24 hours of delay.
3. Refund of checked baggage fees if the baggage was not delivered within 24 hours from the arrival of flight.
4. If the baggage is lost or if it suffered any damage.
For International Flights: The relevant convention shall apply.
For Domestic Flights: The passenger has the right to a maximum equivalent to half of the amount in the relevant convention (for international flights) in its Peso equivalent.
5. Presumption of loss. If after a period of 7 days from when the passenger or consignee should have received the baggage and it is not delivered, it is assumed lost.
Notice of Baggage Liability Limitations
Liability for loss, delay or damage to baggage is limited unless a higher value is declared in advance and additional charges are paid. For most international travel (including domestic portions of international journeys) the liability limit is approximately $9.07 per pound (US$20.00 per kilo) for checked baggage and US$400 per passenger for unchecked baggage. For travel wholly between U.S. points, Federal rules require any limit on an airline's baggage liability to be at least US$2,500 per passenger. Excess valuation may be declared on certain types of valuable articles. Carrier assumes no liability for fragile, valuable or perishable articles. Further information may be obtained from the carrier.
Baggage Liability Limitations for Journeys Entirely within the Philippines
Unless a higher valuation has been declared by the passenger at check-in time, the Carrier's liability for loss of or damage to checked baggage shall be limited to PHP40.00 per kilogram.
Read: Summary of the Rights of Air Passengers
In our case, the baggage was delayed. My husband was able to make it on his connecting flight but the baggage did not make it so they boarded it to the next LAX to MNL flight. I was thankful that PAL has two flights on that day. Have you experienced this, care to share your missing luggage experience.
Philippine Airlines Baggage Assistance and Tracking
Tel: (632) 851-3011
Read: How to Deal with Damaged Luggage