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I understand that if my luggage does not make a transfer on a plane, the company will deliver it to me. However what if:

  • I am far away from the airport? Will they still send me the luggage?
  • I am in a different country? Say I booked a cheap flight followed by a bus to save money. Or I flew with two companies with two transfers and the luggage did not make a transfer between flights of one company.
  • The trip was short and I have already returned by the time the luggage arrived at the destination.

How will I get the luggage in these scenarios?

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Under virtually all circumstances if an airline fails to deliver your luggage to you when you arrive at your destination airport, they will deliver it to you wherever you are. Failure to deliver luggage is almost invariably the fault of the airline so they have to bear responsibility. (It's not as if weather could have delayed your luggage without delaying you).

Normal circumstances is that they will deliver your luggage to your door no matter where you are. I've certainly had this happen several hours drive away from the airport, and I've heard of cases where it happened even further away. Even if your trip is very short, they should make a good effort to get it to you.

In some circumstances it may be better for both of you to negotiate a delivery that is achievable. If you are taking another flight very soon, and the airline is not confident they can get the luggage to you before that flight, it might be easier to agree that it should be delivered to your next destination than to have them try to deliver it quickly, not quite make it, and end up with it being still delivered to your next destination but later. (That's true even if your 'next desination' is back home). You should always talk to the airline representative when you report your bags missing and get them to agree when and where the bags should be delivered.

There should be no circumstances in which the airline refuses to deliver your baggage to where you are because it's too far to go.

You should also be aware that you can in fact make claims against the airline for expenses you incur solely because of a luggage delay. If they take a day or so to deliver your luggage, you can often buy clothes or items you need for that time and then claim the cost from the airline. If when you talk to the airline they say they won't be able to get your bags to you for a day or so, negotiate with them about what is reasonable for you to buy and claim from them. Some airlines will fight this harder than others, but it's not an unreasonable thing to do.

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    In the few times I faced this, the airline paid me in cash on spot (last time in Jakarta last year, around $100 USD in cash) and they got it delivered to my door. – Nean Der Thal Mar 9 at 18:52
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the very important things about what are your rights and airline duties are hold by the Montreal convention:

Lost baggage

The Montreal Convention changes and generally increases the maximum liability of airlines for lost baggage to a fixed amount 1,131 SDR per passenger (the amount in the Warsaw Convention is based on weight of the baggage). It requires airlines to fully compensate travelers the cost of replacement items purchased until the baggage is delivered, to a maximum of 1,131 SDR. At 21 days any delayed baggage is considered lost, until the airline finds and delivers it.

weather the airline is joined or not is hard to know... but very probably

here is the updated list to 2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Convention#Ratifications

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It's happened to us once, they made us come back to the airport to pick them up. Note, however, that this was an international flight and we had to take our bags through customs.

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