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Lufthansa Lost My Carry On

Sunday, April 24, we were flying from Frankfurt to Istanbul for RS 13 Day Turkey. The gate agent in FRA decided my Swissgear Luggage and my backpack was “too much” and made me check it at the gate, despite the fact that both fit in the boxes and met the required dimensions. My wife’s identical carryon sailed on through. When we got to Istanbul, no luggage for Jim. I have some questions for the forum:

  1. My claim says LH is responsible for what it takes me to get by on my trip. Anyone have to file a claim for this before? What was your experience?

  2. My claim also says they are responsible up to 1300 some EU for my lost baggage. Anyone file a claim for this before?

  3. Do these overlap? I bought clothes enough to not offend my fellow travelers but they aren’t what I would normally buy and aren’t the same quality. Do I have to count the clothes I bought in Turkey against the lost claim?

We are having a blast in Turkey despite LH’s terrible handling of my Luggage.

Posted by
27752 posts

number 2 - how do you come up with 1300€? I've never seen it other than a small amount per kg, and I would have thought a carryon is pretty light.

They are well within their rights to gate check luggage.

Posted by
5194 posts

Murphy's law. You did everything you could to eliminate lost luggage and it happened anyway......

I am quite glad that you are still having a great time in Turkey and you have not let this stop you from enjoying the trip.

You should file for reimbursement for what you had to purchase, including clothes, (make sure you have receipts) and for your suitcase and contents. If you have other travel insurance (from a credit card or traditional policy) go ahead and start a claim there as well. They won't pay until the airline makes a determination of what it will pay, but many of them have a 20 day deadline from the loss that you must at least start the claim. If the airline's settlement doesn't really cover your costs, you can move on to the secondary insurers.

It is a little late for you now, but I have seen the advice on the forum that when traveling with another person, mix up your clothing enough so that if one suitcase goes missing, you still have something to wear.

Posted by
847 posts

That's always been my worst fear. I've had to gate check luggage a number of times despite being extremely careful that my carry-on met all weight and size (including handles and wheels) restrictions. So what I've done now for a number of years is take a very lightweight, fold-able tote-bag (I use the Rick Steves one) and pack just about everything inside that, and then put that in the carry-on for the flight. When I've had to gate check using that system I just pull out the tote bag and check the almost empty carry-on (maybe leave a bulky thing or two in it, like a pair of jeans, or shoes). That way if it does go missing you only have to replace the carry-on itself and those one or two items.

Posted by
28 posts

Nigel: Montreal convention of 1999. Articles 17, 22, and 23. The conversion of Sdrs to EU was obtained from LH on my lost baggage claim filing. Do you have any answers?

Posted by
422 posts

Isabel, that is a great idea! I have only had to gate-check my carryon one time and luckily it made it to Milan no problem. I recently bought the RS foldable tote, so will try this on my next trip.

Posted by
28 posts

Carol: thanks! We have some trip insurance from Expedia, we paid with AMEX, and LH is on the hook. It will just be lots of paperwork and probably finger pointing.

Posted by
5554 posts

I hope you have lots of receipts for the items that have gone missing, otherwise you may have a battle on your hands. As far as I am aware, the money that you mention is the maximum that they will pay. I have never added up the value of what I take with me - an interesting thought.

Posted by
1821 posts

I'm so sorry they lost your bag.
I have started photographing everything I'm taking with me, carryon or checked.
I also photograph the bag(s) themselves.
I think it would help if a bag was lost.

Posted by
2832 posts

“Do you have any answers?”

What answers are you looking for? Has the airline actually declared the bags as “lost” rather than “gone missing” and they are still looking for them?

As you know already, the articles you cite say the airline’s liability is limited to 1000 “special drawing rights” which converts to 1274 euros at today’s rate ( according to the Google currency converter). You will have to prove the actual value of the lost bags and their contents.

I hope your phone, camera, tablet, passport, wallet, medications and other valuables were in another carry-on bag you were allowed to keep with you, so you didn’t lose any of those.

Posted by
3304 posts

Just curious, were you among the first on the plane or were in the second half of the passengers left to board? I ask because I’m wondering why you had to gate check a bag that fell within the limits of hand luggage weight & dimensions?

I only have that happened to me on domestic flights and all I’ve had to do is either pick the bag up right on the jetway as it would be waiting for me when I deboarded or get it at the carousel and it would be one of the first bags on that carousel.

Posted by
8641 posts

Perhaps some helpful info:

Liability is governed by the Montreal Convention. Compensation is specified in the Special Drawing Rights (SDR). The Special Drawing Right (SDR) is an artificial accounting unit created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 1,131 SDR currently correspond to approx. €1,336. This amount is subject to currency rate fluctuations and may therefore change. Please note that the maximum liability payment sum after 28.12.2019 will be SDR 1,288.

You should report any loss of or damage to your baggage at the Lufthansa baggage tracing desk, at the Lufthansa service counter at the airport or online immediately upon arrival.
To the contact form

A subsequent report in writing can be made within the legally stipulated time period, but in this case the burden of proof is reversed and you must provide evidence that the problem occurred during air transportation.

Please note that the postmark or automatic date of receipt in the case of fax or email notification is the determining factor for compliance with reporting deadlines.
Content of the report

Statutory reporting deadline
Baggage damage and partial loss (items missing from checked baggage) Within seven days of baggage reclaim
Compensation for delayed delivery of baggage Within 21 days of baggage reclaim
Total loss Within two years

Posted by
5194 posts

The question posted above about why did you have to check a bag that fit within the requirements of hand luggage--

I am reading between the lines that while both bags (back pack and carry on) met the requirements for carryon luggage, perhaps neither of them met the requirement for personal item size? The limit may have been one carry on and one personal item. Or, the gate agent just made an arbitrary call. It can happen.

Posted by
6644 posts

Carol now retired, I assumed it was a weight issue (Q not answered above), as I've experienced Lufthansa being strict about their weight limits on carryons.

Posted by
13093 posts

Or maybe he actually had 3 carry-on pieces. Sasha’s question about his phone, waller, passport, etc. raises that possibility.

Posted by
4697 posts

I’ve had my luggage lost multiple times, but the time Lufthansa lost it they delivered it the following day.

On only one occassion was my luggage lost for an extended period of time. I called the phone number they gave me at the airport every day. On the 5th day, they told me to make a detailed list of everything in the bag with as much identifying info as possible. They said if the outer tags had come off, they would try to identify the bag based on the contents. Before I even submitted the list, I got a phone call from the airline saying they had located my luggage and they made arrangements to drop it at my office. If you haven’t talked to them and submitted your list so they can conduct an extended search, make sure to do that.

Posted by
6876 posts

I've been accused of having oversized carryon luggage a few times. Mostly, those complaining were European budget airlines looking to maximize profits.

I have always been courteous, but firm and a little argumentive. I'll admit that my 31" carry on is actually 32" because of the swivel wheels--and it won't fit in the rack. A Norwegian Air Shuttle lady stood up to me in Oslo, and it cost me 50 Euros to get it gate checked.

I once was singled out for a special security check in Prague, and my bag was whisked away before I could retrieve it. The bag showed up 2 days later in Atlanta--and it had my car keys in it. We had to hold up in a cheap hotel--and since we carry 2 sets of keys..

Bags often get temporarily lost--and they have a way often of showing up later thank goodness.

Posted by
131 posts

Sorry this happened to you. That is the chance you take and get gate checked with what you think is a carry on and is not. I always check my main bag and only carry on a personal item bag. The carry on rule, if there is such a rule, is maxed out by people who carry on 2-3 bags of obvious size that they are a nuisance while boarding and exiting. Then clog up the terminals rolling them around and taking extra space in the restaurants and waiting areas. I have no regard for this always pushing the limits for the simple reason that they do not want to wait at a baggage carousel because they can’t afford the time. Now, you can see that you are wasting a whole lot of time tracking down your bag and thinking about reimbursement. No savings at all.

Posted by
756 posts

You mentioned that the bag was within the size requirements—was it over the 8kg weight limit?

David, if the wheels make your bag oversized, then it is, simply, oversized. There aren't exemptions for protrusions from the packing case.

Posted by
2832 posts

David—do you really mean 31”???? That is not carry-on size. You must mean 21”.

We haven’t heard from the OP in awhile so maybe the bags were find and problem is solved.