Lost luggage rates climb

Travel insurance is more necessary than ever

Travel Insurance News - 06/03/2008

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According to aviation experts, lost and late luggage is a growing problem in the world’s airports. Whether the cause is congested airports like Heathrow, disgruntled baggage handlers or lax airport security, travel insurance is one of the only solutions to a problem which is becoming increasingly serious each day.

Former model Celia Teh was recently a victim of this phenomenon. She picked up her bags in Italy. The lock was intact, her security tags were in place, but the $91,200 worth of goods she had packed were gone.

Ms. Teh was carrying 41 exotic-skin handbags from her handbag label to a showroom in Milan. Fifteen of the bags went missing in transit. Some of her bags sell for as much as €5,000 each, making the loss a substantial one.

The loss wasn’t her only baggage problem either. Ms. Teh flew from Singapore to London and then on to Milan with British Airways. Her bags arrived a day later.

She said it not only took the airline considerable time to locate and transport her bags to her, it also took BA three days to produce the report she required to make claims with her travel insurance company. The airline only barely managed to give her the report in time for her return flight.

The return flight was just as difficult as the trip to Italy had been. In Heathrow, a software problem meant that economy class passengers in Terminal 4 could not check their luggage and Ms. Teh said that the duty manager for BA refused to even answer her questions.

When Ms. Teh finally got on a flight the next day and arrived home in Singapore, her bags, once again, failed to arrive with her. They came three days later.

Every airline has a different policy about lost and delayed bags. According ot BA’s website, the airline is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage up to €1,230 ($2,600).

For Ms. Teh, who lost far more than $2,600 in her luggage, only travel insurance can make up the loss.

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