Travel Insurance Claims Increase For Lost Luggage

 By: Phil Benson
Figures released by the Association of European Airlines (AEA) have shown that over two thousand claims for lost luggage were made during the first six months of last year alone. This was an 85% increase on the same period of time for the previous year, with the average claim being made for over £200.

Lost luggage is now top of the list for travel insurance claims with airlines losing a record amount of baggage daily. Insurance experts only expect these figures to rise, as managing director of Insureandgo, Perry Wilson warns, “We have seen an enormous rise in claims for lost luggage and can unfortunately expect more families’ holidays to be ruined by lost baggage.”

British Airways came in for particular criticism after it was announced that the airline was responsible for the loss of over one million bags last year, the second worst airline in Europe for lost belongings behind TAP Air Portugal.

AEA revealed that BA had lost 26.5 bags for every 1,000 passengers that had flown with them. This is a rise on the previous year of 23 bags for every 1000 passengers.

Ryanair, the budget airline claimed to have losses of only 0.4 bags per 1000 passengers, although many of their customers decide not to check in their bags because of the charge for each item.

Peter Sherrard, a Ryanair spokesman says their passengers should be given lower insurance premiums as a result, “For years the car insurance industry has provided discounts for lower-risk categories such as women drivers and the over-thirties. The time has come for passengers flying with airlines that deliver the best customer service to enjoy the same discounts.”

Britain’s biggest airline, BA, had admitted to having a 22,000 item backlog and that it was flying airplanes full of delayed bags across the Atlantic as well as using a convoy of vans to take luggage across Europe.

Aviation watchdogs have asked for the European Commission to introduce a league table showing the best and worst performing airline companies. It is not currently compulsory for airlines to release their annual records and this saw Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus failing to provide their figures for last year.

The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) has partly attributed the climb in lost luggage to the increased levels of hold luggage seen in UK airports such as Heathrow, as a result of the one-bag rule brought in to operation following the recent terror attacks.

AUC chairman Tina Tietien said, “Whatever the extenuating circumstances, when passengers hand their bag in at check-in, they should expect to see their bag at the other end.”

Despite the obvious inconvenience and stress that missing baggage can have on travellers, adequate insurance should offer a certain amount of confidence if the worst should happen. However, a survey carried out by Legal and General showed that the average value of luggage and contents for a family of four off on holiday is over £2,500, and that many home contents insurance policies should provide necessary cover for families and individuals holidaying away from home.

Head of GI products at Legal and General, Andy Dellbridge confirmed, “We automatically think of claiming under a travel policy but customers may be covered under the personal possessions section of their home insurance policy. It seems more important than ever that holidaymakers check they do have insurance cover in place.”
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