87% of Travelers Don’t Claim Airline Compensation for Lost Luggage

Sep 27, 2018

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These days, airlines seem to always be finding new and creative methods to nickel-and-dime passengers. However, it turns out that one of the many significant ways that air travelers lose money is actually completely preventable – they just don’t know about it.

Case and point: a new survey by passenger rights group AirHelp that found 87% of travelers don’t claim airline compensation for lost luggage, and 90% of passengers don’t know the full extent of their airline rights. That adds up to a whopping $6 billion in compensation left unclaimed globally by passengers each year.

The study, conducted in February 2018 through SurveyMonkey, asked 2,000 participants involved were all over 18 years old and lived in the United States. The survey further found that 31% didn’t know about their rights period, and 29% didn’t know how to file a claim with an airline carrier.

Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp, believes that it is the airline’s responsibility to inform passengers of their rights. “Many U.S. travelers are unaware of their rights under the Montreal Convention, which was ratified by more than 120 countries,” says Zillmer. “It protects passengers when their luggage is delayed, damaged or lost while in the care of the airlines.”

The Montreal Convention is an agreement that was installed to protect passengers rights to compensation. Drafted in 1999, the convention states that airlines are liable for lost baggage up to 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which is equivalent to about $1,525. And that’s not even including the US Code of Federal Regulations, which set the limit for compensation for lost baggage at no less than $3,500. Meaning that passengers entitled to compensation in the thousands are not getting what they are owed, hence the $6 billion left in the ether.

With airlines raising bag fees frequently (and bags returning damaged, late, or even shredded and burnt to a crisp), it’s time now more than ever to know your rights as an air traveler. Last August, AirHelp held the first “Passenger Rights Awareness Month,” however plenty of people are still in the dark.

If your bag gets lost or damaged at the airport, don’t sweat it. We’ve compiled a guide of what you should do to earn proper compensation.

Featured image by Thomas Barwick via Getty Images.

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