In case of lost baggage, based on what does the airlines calculate value of lost baggage (and reimburse)? The replies to this question suggest buying insurance, but if one doesn't want to do that is there a way one can declare the value of belongings in checked in baggage ?

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    In my experience, they tend to have a $/weight policy.
    – Jonas
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 16:05
  • @Jonas That was also my impression but it turns out that it's more complicated and that my knowledge of all this was very dated. Still, the last time I lost luggage for good was around 2000 and I got compensated by weight, IIRC. Incidentally, those treaties are the reason why maximum liability is defined in special drawing rights.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 0:29
  • Since you asked about transfer in Amsterdam in another question, you might be interested in the EU rules about passenger rights. Note that you might be able to get something even if your baggage is merely delayed and not lost forever. Often it's just a matter of asking for it to the airline (but it's a long time since I last had to deal with this so I am not sure how airlines handle this nowadays).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 0:50
  • @Annoyed: Agreed. Ground personnel seems to have quite some discretion - I negotiated a decent compensation for a ripped-off bag handle in Beijing, for example.
    – Jonas
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


Each airline is different, however, most of them will inform you of this policy on their specific website. (For Example, Delta's policy.)

Also, keep in mind that most airlines will state that they are not liable for:

-Cash, camera equipment, fragile items, jewelry, etc...

For example, I have lost luggage with AA before, and I had to wait at least a week to give them a chance to find it, and I then filed a lost luggage declaration form, and spoke to a person in their Customer Service Dept. after my trip. It took some work, but I did get a fair value from them for my lost items (mainly clothing).

Bottom Line: Keep your valuables in your carry on, or on your person. Check each airline's Baggage Liability Rules. (Example.)

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