This section explains what you are entitled to if your luggage is damaged, lost or delayed during the course of your airline journey.


  1. You are entitled to compensation of around £1,000 if your luggage is destroyed, damaged or lost;*
  2. If the value of your luggage is greater than £1,000 you need to declare the value to the airline when checking in;
  3. You should also ensure your insurance policy is sufficient to cover the contents of your luggage;
  4. If your luggage has been damaged:
  • Report the problem to airline staff in the baggage hall, where you collected your luggage before you leave the airport;
  • They should record this in a Property Irregularity Report (PIR);
  • Make sure you get a copy of the PIR as this will support your claim for compensation;
  1. To assist your claim for compensation, keep the luggage tags which were attached at check-in. If possible, take photographs of the damage caused to your luggage;
  2. You must make a written complaint within seven days from the date you receive your luggage, otherwise you will be unable to make a claim for compensation; and
  3. To ensure you have proof of delivery, send your complaint by recorded delivery.

* Under the Montreal Convention maximum compensation is 1,131 International Monetary Fund Special Drawings Rights.

Delayed luggage

Airlines have different rules about how they can help if your luggage is delayed. They may offer one of the following options:

  1. An immediate, one off cash payment to cover emergency purchases;
  2. A set amount per day until the delayed bag is returned; or
  3. A refund for emergency purchases and essential expenses on submission of receipts.

Lost luggage

If your luggage hasn’t been found after 21 days, you should write to the airline to claim compensation detailing the value of the items lost.

The Consumer Council has produced a template letter you can use to make your claim.

How to complain

  1. In all instances of lost, damaged or delayed luggage, contact a member of the airline or airport staff in the first instance. 
  2. If the airport or airline cannot resolve the problem at the time of travel, put your complaint in writing, detailing what went wrong.  Template letters are available on The Consumer Council’s website
  3. If you think you are entitled to compensation, state how much you expect from the airline.
  4. If you have made a complaint and are not satisfied with the outcome, contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or [email protected]  We handle complaints concerning air travel to and from Northern Ireland.
  5. Some airlines also offer Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  For more information contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022.