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What happened to my bags? Lost for good? Oh no……
It rarely happens, but if your bag is lost altogether the liability limit is $3300.00 per passenger domestic, $20.00 per kilogram international for checked baggage and $400.00 for unchecked baggage both per passenger. This is really interesting since it is substantially less than the provision for domestic flights. Doing the math, 2 bags, 50lbs each plus the $400 for a carry-on results in a total liability of $1320.00! Delta deems your bag officially “lost” if they cannot locate it within 21 days of your filing a lost baggage claim.
You will have to prove with receipts the costs of the items in your lost bag, and allowances will be made for usage of older items. This is another reason to never pack valuable items in your checked baggage. It’s also a good idea to have a rough inventory of what you pack in your bag. There are many exceptions for irregular things like sports equipment, child care items, musical equipment, etc. and you can read all about it in the official contract of carriage under baggage if you like with this PDF.
What if Delta damages your bag? Again, lots of hoops to jump through here to get compensation and many exceptions as well. Here’s what Delta won’t cover :
Broken wheels or feet
Lost pull straps
Minor cuts and scratches
Damage resulting from over packing
Damage to retractable luggage handles
Fragile or perishable items damaged during transport
Items unsuitably packed or unsuitable for transportation
Damage resulting from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspections
If your bag sustains damage in excess of any of these exceptions, you must fill out the online form within 24 hours domestic, 7 days international. You must also have the bag inspected by the baggage service office personnel upon arrival and discovery of the damage. If the damage was the result of a TSA inspection, you must file a claim with the TSA here.
I once saw a woman traveling with 2 small children on an international flight and Delta had destroyed her carry-on bag. They gave her trash bags to put the ripped bag and all of her personal items in! The FA’s on the flight were appalled and did their best to help her get everything reorganized. Filing claims does take time, which a mother traveling with 2 small children can’t afford to spare, but there’s no reason to accept this kind of treatment.
Interesting side-point, although Delta can deem your bag “unsuitably packed” they fail to provide guidelines anywhere on Delta.com as to what constitutes “suitable packing” or over packing for that matter! Just a helpful point to remember if you find yourself in this unenviable position with our beloved Delta! And another reason why it’s our responsibility to always know the rules! – René