My buddy and travel guru Peter Greenberg always jokes that there are two types airline baggage: carry-on and lost. Fortunately, the airlines have gotten very good at not losing checked luggage. In fact, a study in 2017 showed that “fewer than 6 bags per 1,000 passengers were mishandled” in the year prior.
But what happens if the airline does lose your checked bag? You must go though the airline procedures, filling out necessary forms and meeting deadlines, but you’ll usually be entitled to a payout. According to the Department of Transportation’s helpful page on flyer rights, “On domestic trips, the airline can invoke a liability ceiling that is regulated by DOT and that is adjusted for inflation every two years. That limit is currently $3,500 per passenger.” For international trips it’s $1,675. “Keep in mind that the liability limits are maximums. If the depreciated value of your property is worth less than the liability limit, this lower amount is what you will be offered.”
I don’t know anyone that’s received a large check from an airline for a lost bag. And anyone out there who has gotten one probably worked hard to get it. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re worried about an airline losing your bags, or dealing with the lengthy process of getting a refund, check out Blue Ribbon Bags (BRB). BRB is a New York company that for a $5 service fee pays $1,000 for each bag lost by the airline after four days missing—no receipts for baggage contents required. If you pay more, you get more. Paying $7.50 nets you $1,500 per bag, and $10 will earn you $2,000.
Again, the likelihood of your bags being lost is slim to none, but the service no doubt offers peace of mind. You might actually hope your bags do indeed get lost (I know I would). Here’s a rundown of service features, plus a video below it, via the website:
- Blue Ribbon Bags will track and expedite the return of your delayed baggage for 96 hours from the time your flight lands.
- You will receive automatic email updates every time there is any change to the status of your mishandled bag.
- One Service Agreement includes all bags checked at airport, including last minute gate check-ins.
- Blue Ribbon Bags service covers every flight, on every airline, everywhere in the world.
- Each purchase is per person, per airline confirmation number, regardless of the number of connections.
- You can purchase our service right up until the moment prior to your flight’s departure.
- Their service must be purchased prior to all flights within an inbound or outbound itinerary. Their service cannot be purchased “mid-connection.”
- A report must be filed with your airline prior to reporting your mishandled bag to us.
- Mishandled bags must be reported to us within 24 hours of your flight arrival.
- No proof of baggage contents is required to receive our Satisfaction Guarantee Payment.
- Payment is issued if your bag is not found within 96 hours (4 days) of your flight arrival.
- Payments are guaranteed even if your bags are returned after the 96-hour service period.
- BRB sells a service that is in addition to any insurance you may have, and not instead of.