My uncle was coming to visit me in Ecuador and bringing a laptop for me. It was in his checked bags, but somewhere between Panama City, Panama, and Quito, Ecuador, it was stolen out of his luggage. The bag was not stolen, only the laptop. Obviously he should have had a lock on it, but he didn't. Is there any recourse for this? The airline's policy is that a written report needed to be filed within 7 days (which we didn't do), and his credit card travel insurance excludes computers, software and cell phones. Even if it didn’t, the language skirts the issue of theft from baggage.

Is there really no recourse for something like this?

  • 2
    Why didn't you report it to the airline? Did you have travel insurance? Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 21:06
  • We tried calling the airline multiple times, but could never get through to a human. By the time he was returning and back at the airport, it had been more than a week. And the travel insurance he had was through his credit card, which had the exclusions I've listed above (computers, software and cell phones).
    – ggutenberg
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 21:08
  • Which airline was it? Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 21:09
  • The airline was Copa.
    – ggutenberg
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 21:10
  • 1
    Ya, the proof part is the kicker. It was a used laptop, and even if it wasn't, a receipt wouldn't indicate that it was in the luggage. Lost luggage is one thing (mistake), but I feel like the airlines/airports should be accountable for their employees stealing things. I suppose that's just the risk we take when we give our bags over to strangers.
    – ggutenberg
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


The kicker is the delay, once you pass the airlines reporting deadline, the chances for compensation drop to basically zero. Too easy for folks to start claiming all sorts of non-existant items. Personally I would have been persistent with calls or perhaps gone back to the airport to report the theft.

At this point your best bet is to write a polite letter explaining the situation, include copies of the ticket, boarding passes and purchase receipt. You might get lucky.

But I suppose at this point the two of you have learned the number one rule about baggage when flying .... put nothing of value in checked bags.

  • So if you don't put anything of value in checked bags, where do you put it? In your hand luggage? Or should you not be carrying any at all?
    – Molten Ice
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 15:33
  • 1
    @MoltenIce - you ALWAYS carry your valuables in your hand luggage, laptops, phones, passport, money, jewelry, etc. You never put it in checked bags. That is Air Travel 101.
    – user13044
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 1:30
  • @Tom vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/21/15000424/…
    – JuniorDev
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 7:50
  • @JuniorDev - I think are all aware that stupid trumpism, but still does change the rule of thumb not to check valuables.
    – user13044
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 15:34

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