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Did the airline lose or damage your bag? Here's how to get reimbursed

More than 648,000 bags were lost in the first quarter of 2022. Here's how you can ensure the airlines pay for losing your bag.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 648,000 bangs were reported as mishandled in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Department of Transportation. 

That means those bags were lost, delayed or damaged, leaving passengers frustrated and without their luggage. WCNC Charlotte has received questions from VERIFY viewers about what they should do if their bag is lost or damaged by the airline.

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 Do airlines need to reimburse you for a lost or delayed bag?



Yes, you can get reimbursed if your bag is delayed or lost. 


Airlines are responsible for compensating passengers for "reasonable, verifiable, and actual incident expenses if their bag is lost or delayed," according to the DOT. 

But how much? 

"If your bag is lost, then the airline is responsible for compensating you for the contents of that bag up to a certain point," Smith said.

That certain point is $3,800 for domestic and $1,780 for international flights. These are the max prices DOT says airlines are liable for if a bag is lost, damaged, or delayed. However, don't expect to get that much money. 

"The airlines do have the availability to pay above that, but in most cases, they will just tap out at the limit," Smith said. 

If your bag is delayed, the cost for the bag should be a reasonable amount, Smith explained. So what constitutes a reasonable amount?

Delta Air Lines' reasonable amount is generally determined as $50 per day for the first five days a bag is delayed. The other major airlines didn't define reasonable expenses in their baggage policies. Smith said it's important to keep your receipts if you plan on trying to get reimbursed. 

"If your bag is delayed and you have to purchase clothing, just make sure you can keep your receipt, and in due time, you will get reimbursed up until those amounts," Smith said.

The first thing you should do if this happens is to file a claim with the airline. Remember, they're only going to reimburse you for a reasonable amount, so you can't go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe and expect them to cover the bill. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY.

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