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Delayed and lost luggage – they are the unexpected spoilers with big consequences many travellers don’t think about until it happens to them. And that’s exactly the position Sheila Jones found herself in after she arrived for a week of family celebrations in Jersey to mark her eighty-third birthday.
The disabled widow’s love of life burns bright and knowing there would be photo ops galore she crammed her bag with some feel-good party outfits as well as her basic medications.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected]
All set she headed for Birmingham Airport where she checked in her bag with regional airline Blue Islands. However there was no sign of it when she arrived.
“Other relatives who travelled with me had no problem, but I had nothing, no dress or hair tongs,” a despondent Sheila told Crusader.
Of course, her family rallied round, with the local hospital and Boots and Matalan stores helping fill the gap with emergency replacements that came to around £100.
News about the whereabouts of her bag, which she understands went to Scotland despite being clearly tagged, came through a couple of days before her holiday ended. But in the end the bag was only available for collection the night prior to her leaving.
While a relative had asked the airline about compensation for the delay, at that point no receipts were supplied although thankfully they had been kept safely.
And after the worry and the disappointment Sheila felt dealing with the baggage issue after her return was all too much, so she asked Crusader for help.
Her instinct was right as her family had also bought her ticket, so she would have had to deal with a proof of identity hurdle from the outset.
Blue Islands has a £25 a day with £75 maximum limit for delayed luggage. But as a goodwill gesture after we sent Sheila’s sales receipts it has refunded the £100 she paid out.
“With Crusader’s help this turned out better than I had hoped,” responded a grateful Sheila.
Protect your luggage – insurer World Nomads advises:
Whether you are travelling by air or sea, pack essentials, especially any medicines, in your hand luggage and hang on to that for dear life. Be aware some destinations might not offer the replacements you need.
As more older people with medical conditions enjoy travelling, many struggle to afford or secure insurance.
But it can certainly help, especially where things go awry through missed connections, and may provide added recourse where total losses exceed carrier limitations.
Jonathan Frankham, general manager UK of insurer World Nomads recommends: “If your checked-in bags are delayed by 12 hours or more from the arrival time scheduled, your policy can cover essential items. But, before you go shopping, always check the policy conditions first.”
Keep all original receipts which you will be required to submit regarding a claim. “Report any delays to your carrier immediately,” says Frankham. “Ask for a written report confirming the delay was greater than 24 hours and any compensation offered.”
World Nomads’ claim record
Average value of settled claims related to lost, delayed or damaged luggage for UK travellers in 2022 was £232. Average value of settled claims related to luggage (including theft, damage or lost abroad) for UK travellers in 2022 was £321.
Travel insurance must work in tandem with consumer rights
Remember if a flight or accommodation is cancelled through no fault of the consumer, the onus is on the flight carrier or hotel to refund, not the travel insurance company. Some policies however may provide added recourse where the limitations are exceeded by the total losses incurred.
The Montreal Convention for example came into effect on May 28, 1999, to protect passengers, baggage, and goods on international flights. Since then, 136 countries have joined.
Based on the current exchange rate, airlines are liable for the loss, damage, or destruction of baggage up to the amount of €1,600 per passenger. This compensation should cover emergency replacement purchases (such as clothing and toiletries) as well as baggage repair or replacement. A successful claim, however, requires you to prove that the airline is responsible for any baggage-related issues. Furthermore, you should be able to submit invoices for all relevant emergency purchases.
In World Nomads’ experience:
A traveller arriving in Zanzibar found that their luggage didn’t arrive with them. They completed a PIR form and proceeded to their destination. Without basic items they were required to pick up some basic toiletries and clothes. Because of the nature of the island receipts were not available in market stalls or local shops.
The luggage eventually turned up but the company that dropped the luggage insisted on a fee of £50, otherwise they wouldn’t return it for another two days.
Claim paid by World Nomads: £100
A traveller’s luggage was damaged by the time they arrived at the destination in Jakarta. The customer tried to claim from the airline as soon as they arrived. Two weeks before a response was forthcoming at which point they abdicated responsibility due to the fact that a different connecting carrier was used (even though booked by the same Singapore airline).
Claim paid by World Nomads: £140
A traveller’s flight from Bangkok to Singapore was delayed by four hours, which resulted in them missing their connecting flight from Singapore to Bali. The airline issued the traveller a new ticket for a next day flight to Bali and promised that they would transfer over their checked luggage to the new connecting flight. When they did arrive in Bali their bags were nowhere to be found. World Nomads approved their claim for accrued costs while waiting on luggage to arrive.
Claim paid: £165
A traveller and their partner flew from Glasgow airport to Geneva airport via London Heathrow. The flight from Heathrow to Geneva was delayed by approximately two hours due to an engineering issue. This delay caused the travellers to miss their pre-booked transfer from Geneva to Les Houches. On arrival at Geneva airport, the travellers’ backpack containing essential clothes, equipment and toiletries needed to complete this multi-day hike did not arrive.
Claim paid: £823
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