All about luggage on Delta Air Lines part 1 of 2

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When I was a little tyke my mother took me and my sister each year back home to Sweden for the summer. I have fond memories of her waving to our bags as they trundled off on the belt wishing them a pleasant journey as if we would never see them again. But as we all know, when you’re on the other end and waiting for your bag that never shows up it’s less amusing and often frustrating trying to figure out just what Delta will do to help you in this situation.

Naturally the first thing to do when your bag fails to appear on the belt is get to the ticket counter as quickly as possible with your claim tickets in hand. Also helpful are the photos of your bags both on your phone and paper copies printed out prior to departure if you followed my advice here! Ask the agent to check behind the counter for your bag and to check the computer as it should show what airport the bag is in. On my recent ski trip we collected both regular pieces of luggage from the belt, but our ski bag failed to appear. The baggage crew had simply opted to keep it on the cart and take it back to the ticket counter rather than putting it on the belt likely due to it’s odd shape that my home airport is not equipped to handle in the baggage area as other airports are.

There are so many reasons why your bag might not make the same flight you did. Many times they will simply pull your bag due to the plane being overweight restrictions. This is yet one more reason to have status as priority bags are less likely to get pulled! Other reasons can be bumping to a later flight, your bags might have gone on the scheduled flight without you. If your connection was tight your bags could have simply missed your flight. In all of these instances your bag should be either behind the ticket counter waiting for you when you arrive, or delivered to you as soon as it is located.

If your missing bag is not at the ticket counter waiting for you the agent will open a claim and give you a form with your claim number written on the front. You can check DELTA to find out where your bag is and when you can expect it to be delivered. This sometimes works better than calling the 800 number on the form. You might also have better success with tracking your bag by the bag tag number rather than the file reference number, as these are sometimes written down incorrectly and/or assigned to the wrong person as you are often not alone in this situation when it happens. Another good option is tracking your bag by the bag tag number with a smartphone app. Delta is required to deliver your bag to you as soon as possible wherever you are staying. Check the arrival screens and if your bag missed your flight, and the next flight from where your bag still is isn’t due for a while don’t waste more time at the airport than you have to! Agents will often ask people to wait and see if the bag turns up on the next flight. Don’t fall for this and end up waiting around for endless hours unnecessarily. Once you’ve filed the claim you’ve done your part as required by Delta.

If your bag is not returned to you within 12 hours of filing your missing bag claim, and if you paid for a first or second bag, you might be eligible for a rebate of the bag fee. These are currently issued as ETV’s, however, and we know about the changes Delta has made with using ETV’s.

If your bag remains missing for 24 hours you then qualify for expense reimbursements due to the delay of your bag. Delta allows $50 for the first 24 hours, and $25 per day for the next 4 days. These claims must be filed online with copies of your receipts uploaded with the claim. Also important to note is that these dollar amounts are not caps or limits, according to, and if you incur further expenses your claim may still be paid despite what the agents at the airport may try to tell you. I have received this reimbursement in the form of a check, but it’s been a while and doesn’t say if this is still the case or if this is also now issued as an ETV.

So what if your bag is damaged, or worse yet, lost?! I’ll cover those areas in tomorrow’s post! – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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  1. I think that my bags have visited many cities that I have never been to!

  2. I would agree on the last point, especially if you are outside of the US. DL lost our toddler’s bag for a few days on a trip to France. Exchange rate at that time was something like 1 euro = $1.40. We had to buy some clothes, diapers, etc. for her and even the basic stuff wasn’t cheap. The amount was more than allotted, but anyone looking at the items would see that they were reasonable purchases. We submitted the receipts and DL paid it, no problem (I’m sure my Diamond status did not hurt).

  3. When your luggage is delayed, the airlines will offer to deliver it for free to your home or hotel. While this sounds like a wonderful gesture, do not accept it.

    They contract this out to a third party who works for multiple airlines. They will collect multiple bags and then make a run into town for the deliveries. I have been at an airport hotel at it took 12 hours from when the flight with my bag arrived until it was delivered to the hotel. When I talked with the agent, they admitted it can take up to 24 hours.

    If you are not in a hurry to get your luggage, then use the service. If you need whats in your bags, ask the airline to call your hotel and you will come pick it up. Yes, a royal pain, but its the fastest way to be rejoined with your bag.

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