Report your lost luggage immediately
Especially after a late-night or red-eye flight, it can be difficult to muster the energy to find the airport’s baggage claim office, but waiting to report your lost luggage is risky. Many airlines mandate that you report your lost luggage within a certain time period, some as short as four hours, in order to receive reimbursement for any purchases you need to make without your luggage. Here’s the good news: 79 percent of all mishandled bags are simply delayed, according to SITA’s 2016 Baggage Report. Report your missing bags immediately, noting their identification numbers on your baggage claim stubs, so you can get them back as soon as possible.
Make a list
More good news: According to SITA’s report, on average it took airlines less than two days to locate and reconnect lost baggage with its owners in 2015, so you likely won’t spend a significant amount of time scouting out makeshift clothes and borrowing toothpaste. But you will likely need a few basic toiletries and pieces of clothing in the short term anyway, so start thinking about what those might be. While it’s likely that your bag will be recovered soon, in the slim case that it isn’t, make a list about what was in the bag. This will come in handy in case the airline does actually lose your bag, in which case you’ll likely want to file a reimbursement claim.