Almost 600 reports of lost luggage have been forwarded to the Civil Aviation Authority after airports and airlines failed to recover the missing items.

Research from storage outfit Bounce analysed lost luggage on flights to and from the UK between 2016 and 2020 following a Freedom of Information request to the CAA.

It should be noted that not all cases of lost luggage are dealt with by the CAA, which only investigates issues that cannot be resolved with airlines or airports.

The airline with the most lost luggage cases referred to the CAA was Royal Air Maroc, with 58 cases between 2016 and 2020. Royal Air Maroc (more commonly known as RAM) is the national carrier of Morocco and runs regular flights to London Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as Manchester Airport.

In second place was Iberia, the flagship airline of Spain, which saw 40 cases referred to the CAA in the last five years.

No-frills carrier Ryanair was also amongst airlines with the highest number of lost baggage claims, with 37 between 2016 and 2020.

While lost baggage complaints are made to airlines as opposed to airports, the research also looked at which UK hubs saw the most cases, either on flights departing or arriving.

By far the airport with the most cases of lost luggage was London Heathrow, with 116 incidents reported to the CAA. Another London airport came in second place, with 84 cases of luggage being lost in the last five years at Gatwick.

However, it is not surprising that the UK's busiest airports fill many of the top spots.

Why you should book your return flights with a different airline
Missing bags can be a nightmare for travellers

Airlines with most cases of lost luggage on UK flights reported to CAA:

  1. Royal Air Maroc - 9.70% of all lost baggage reports

  2. Iberia - 6.69%

  3. Ryanair - 6.19%

  4. Vueling Airline - 5.18%

  5. Pakistan International Airlines PIA - 4.68%

Cody Candee, CEO and founder at Bounce, said: "Travelling can be a frustrating experience at the best of times, but perhaps one of the most irritating things that can happen when travelling is losing your luggage.

“From our research, we found that the CAA dealt with 598 cases of lost luggage between 2016 and 2020 in the UK. These cases were ones which the airlines failed to resolve, ultimately leaving their customers completely without their luggage."

Here are some tips on how to locate any lost luggage.

1. Contact the airline

Rather than the airport, it’s the airlines that you should get in touch with in the first instance, and you should do this as soon as possible. There should usually be a representative from the airline at the airport, but if not, be sure to call them.

2. Ask to have the luggage delivered

When you do speak to someone from the airline, ask them to forward your luggage on to you, either at home or your accommodation at your destination. The airline should offer this service to you anyway, but make sure.

3. See if you can get a refund

If your luggage is lost then you may be able to have your checked baggage fees refunded, but again, you have to make sure that you have this confirmed as soon as possible.

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4. Keep receipts

If you’re stuck without your luggage for a number of days, it’s likely that you’re going to have to buy things such as clothing, toiletries and other essentials to keep you going until you get it back. If so, be sure to keep hold of all your receipts as you should be compensated for these.

5. Check insurance

Be sure to check whether travel insurance covers lost luggage or not. If not, it may even be worth checking your homeowner’s insurance, or the credit card you used to book the flight as these sometimes have lost luggage benefits too.

6. Thoroughly check your luggage once you get it back

Be sure to give it a thorough check for damage, as the airline should repair or replace the bags if they’re damaged. You should also make sure that there are no items missing.

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