Lufthansa lost my bag. Can you help me find it?

By | January 8th, 2017

When Lufthansa loses your bag, how long should it take for it to resolve your claim? Hanga Mathe would like to know.

Question: We flew from Budapest to Newark, via Düsseldorf, on Lufthansa. One of our bags never arrived. We immediately filed a claim in Newark, then started to wait.

After five days, we sent a detailed list of the contents to the email address on the claim form. Since then, we’ve made at least 20 domestic and international calls to different Lufthansa numbers, with two return calls advising us they were searching for the bag and to wait. We filled out the online feedback form on the Lufthansa website. We sent emails to Lufthansa customer relations. We sent emails to Lufthansa executives, and we did not receive a reply. Six weeks later, we’re still waiting for our bag or compensation.

Can you help me find my bag, or obtain compensation from Lufthansa? — Hanga Mathe, Philadelphia

Answer: Lufthansa shouldn’t have lost your bag, but it did. And unfortunately, lost bags are a common occurrence. What’s uncommon is the way Lufthansa ignored your claim and your inquiries, and made you wait for an unreasonable amount of time to address your lost bag.

Lufthansa’s website directs passengers with lost bags to first make a claim at the airport, which you did. It then directs passengers to wait 5 days before filing a detailed claim form, which you did. It also allows you to submit an online inquiry, which you also did. But, after that, it doesn’t give you much direction at all.

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You did everything you could to communicate with Lufthansa and to obtain compensation for your lost bag. You did what we suggest you do when faced with an unresponsive company.

There were only a few other things you could have done. You could have posted this issue to our help forums to see if company representatives who read the forums, subject matter experts who volunteer to assist consumers, or other consumers who’ve had similar issues could give you some suggestions. You also could have picked up some tips from our FAQ about luggage section of our website. Our tips about lost luggage do caution passengers to expect weeks, or months for the airline to process a claim. And, although you sent emails to two Lufthansa executives, you could have sent emails to additional company executives. You can find executive contact information on our website company contacts.

Our advocates contacted Lufthansa on your behalf and, ten weeks after losing the bag, Lufthansa compensated you for the loss. Better late than never!

  • AJPeabody

    “Better late than never” does not compensate for the “late.”

  • cscasi

    It is hard to wait weeks or even months after filing a claim with an airline for a lost bag. People need to replace some or all of what was contained in the lost bag and cannot afford to wait for the airline to process the claim. I do know that the airline wants to wait for a period of time which a search is made to recover the lost bag, but how long should that time frame be? We know that sometimes the bag tag comes off a bag and the bag then sits somewhere waiting until a customer files a missing bag report and that information is sent out to various stations to look for the bag. With the new tracking systems that are now being used, one would think the airline would know just about where the bag should be at all times. Of course, there is always the chance that someone at the baggage carousel could steal someone’s bag , as well. Nonetheless, there should be a published time frame that airlines should abide by for claims made for lost luggage. I think that would help customers know what to expect.
    I am glad that Chris’ team was able to help this person get the money that was due him.

  • Flyonpa

    If i recall correctly ICAO gives the airlines ~90-100 days to “Find” the bag before it has to pay for the lost bag. Something like 99% of “lost” bags are found and delivered with in 48hours. After five days if they are not found, they are probably lost forever, But the airlines are allowed to run the clock waiting for that very small percent of bags that are found within the ICAO time limits if it wants to.

  • cscasi

    Thanks for the informaton.

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