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Lost and damaged baggage

A suitcase on a baggage belt.

We take great pride in carrying your bags safely and speedily to your final destination but if something goes wrong we’ll pull out all the stops to fix it as quickly as possible.

Finding delayed and lost baggage

The sooner you report a problem to us the quicker we can resolve it. That’s why if your bags haven’t arrived on time it’s really important that you tell us about it.

If you reported a problem with your baggage at the airport and have a baggage file reference number you do not need to take any further action. (A baggage file reference number is a series of five letters and five numbers such as JFKBA12345 and is different to the baggage receipt you were given when checking your bags in.) We are working hard to reunite you with your missing bags and will be in touch when we find them.

If you left the airport without reporting your problem and do not have a baggage file reference number please take the following steps:

1. Tell us about your delayed baggage

2. If you were travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, complete a 'Clearance of Missing and Delayed baggage' form

As soon as we find your bag we will return it to you for free to any address you choose. (This service is not available in some countries due to local government restrictions but we will advise you if this applies.)

Check the status of your bag and update your details (requires baggage file reference number)

Baggage telephone numbers (please be aware that our lines may be busy at this time)

Should your baggage be delayed for an extended period of time and you need to purchase essential items please do so.  When making a claim please keep all receipts and attach them through our claim form where we will seek to reimburse you as quickly as possible.

Claiming for lost baggage, damaged baggage and damaged and missing contents

Before making a claim, please ensure you have told us about your damage or loss and have a reference number (e.g. the baggage file reference number from a delayed bag report):

If you haven’t already done so, report your problem now

If you believe you have lost contents or had contents damaged during a US baggage inspection you can claim compensation directly from the US Transport Security Administration (TSA):

TSA claim form

A personal travel insurance policy will likely provide a greater level of cover than we can offer. We therefore recommend that you contact your insurer before making a claim directly with us. We will provide you with a written report, on request, to send to your insurer as proof of loss, damage or delay to your baggage, in support of your claim.

If you do not have travel insurance that covers you for any relevant loss, you may claim from us for the following reasons within the set deadlines:

If you need to purchase essential items because your baggage is delayed for an extended period of time, please do so, remembering to keep all your receipts, and then submit them to us in the 'On Arrival' section on our baggage compensation claim form. We will reimburse you as quickly as possible.

Why and when you can claim
Reason for claim Deadline for claim
Baggage reported as missing for more than three days 21 days from the date of the flight
Expenses incurred because of a delay to a bag 21 days from the date of the flight
Damage to a bag 7 days from the date you received your bag
Missing or damaged baggage contents 7 days from the date you received your bag

Start a claim for baggage compensation

Call us to check the status of an existing claim

Call us for any other reason

Insurance and baggage liability limitations

Whilst we will make every attempt to ensure your baggage is handled with care, you should know that British Airways’ liability for loss, delay or damage to baggage is limited unless a higher value is declared in advance and additional charges paid.

The extent of airline liability is not based on the weight of the bag nor its value. British Airways does not accept liability for fragile, valuable, perishable articles or baggage which is packed in damaged or unsuitable containers.

Under the Conditions of Carriage we accept no liability for the loss of jewellery, other valuables and money contained in checked baggage. You are advised to keep valuables, important documents and money either on your person or in your hand baggage.

We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate travel insurance cover prior to your journey. Use the following links for further information:

Notice of liability limitations

Conditions of carriage