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

AirHelp, the world’s leading air passenger rights company, today revealed the results of a survey showing that more than 87 percent of U.S. travelers do not file claims following an issue with lost, damaged or delayed luggage at the airport. Under the Montreal Convention and U.S. national law, passengers may be entitled to claim between $1,525 and $3,500 in compensation from the airline at fault.


One of the most comprehensive pieces of research on air passenger rights, AirHelp surveyed more than 2,000 people across the United States to understand how travelers are exercising their rights when travel plans go awry. AirHelp’s survey results show that the three main reasons passengers did not file a claim for compensation due to luggage issues included: they did not think they would be entitled to compensation (41%), they were not aware of their rights (31%), and they did not know how to file a claim (29%). These results prove that the implementation of the Montreal Convention and U.S. national law is not widespread enough, and travelers are leaving money owed in the hands of the airlines.


“Airlines must do better to educate air travelers on their rights. We found that 87 percent of U.S. travelers have not filed a claim, although they were entitled to compensation following issues with their luggage. Many U.S. travelers are unaware of their rights under the Montreal Convention, which was ratified by more than 120 countries. It protects passengers when their luggage is delayed, damaged or lost while in the care of the airlines,” comments Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp. “Our survey shows that travelers have a lot to learn when it comes to their rights, and that airlines and policymakers have much work to do, in order to better serve travelers. I created AirHelp more than five years ago to educate and support passengers, and we continue to work hard to help travelers get the compensation that is rightfully theirs.”


Luggage Issues: These are passengers’ rights


Whether a traveler is flying within the U.S. or to one of the other 120 countries that ratified the Montreal Convention, if that person experiences luggage issues while traveling, they may be entitled to compensation. Under air passenger rights laws, including U.S. national law and the Montreal Convention, the maximum compensation from an airline for checked luggage that is either lost or damaged is $1,525 – $3,500. In order to successfully get the compensation that they are entitled to, a passenger must file a claim before leaving the airport. Travelers should fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) claim for misplaced luggage, including the case number of their bags. The more detailed the claim, the better off that passenger will be, including an itemized list of the contents of their luggage, including the value of each item.


If you have valuable luggage that is worth more than 1,131 SDR (Special Drawing Rights), which is equivalent to approximately $1,580, you should notify the airline before checking your luggage. In these cases, you may be able to get higher compensation if your luggage is lost, but these terms vary based on the airline you are flying. Travelers carrying valuable luggage should check the policies of each airline, as well as the travel insurance policies for U.S. insurance companies to make sure they are prepared.


To file claims and learn more about travelers’ rights, visit


About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.