By: Julie Szpira
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In September, I spent two weeks exploring Europe. I booked a flight on Aegean Airlines from Amsterdam (AMS) to Rhodes, Greece (RHO), with a connection in Athens (ATH).
The connection time was about 55 minutes, but since Aegean Airlines offered that connection time as acceptable, I wasn’t worried about missing my flight. Well, the flight from Amsterdam was delayed. I started to get a little antsy and thought, “What if I don’t make my flight to Rhodes?!”
Luckily, the pilot made up some time in the air, and I was able to quickly transit through the Athens airport to arrive at the gate for the next leg of my trip just as boarding started.
I landed in Rhodes and waited at baggage claim, watching bag after bag arrive and be happily reunited with their owners, until no bags remained. No sight of my bag. “This is not good,” I thought.
I approached an airport employee with my baggage claim ticket, and she replied “Oh, yes. I am so sorry, Miss Szpira, but your luggage did not get transferred correctly. We will put it on the first flight in the morning and have it delivered to your hotel.”
It turns out my bag was not as good at navigating the Athens airport as I was, and it didn’t make it onto the flight.
Fortunately, I booked my flight with the Citi Prestige Card, which provides baggage delay insurance.
Baggage Delay Insurance
There are many credit cards that offer trip delay insurance and those benefits are often used by flyers when weather or mechanical issues delay flights.
Due to enhanced technology being implemented by airports across the world for baggage handling and tracking, baggage delay insurance is a less commonly used benefit.
Airlines will reimburse a traveler if checked baggage is completely lost, however, a delayed bag usually comes with a “sorry” and maybe a toiletry kit. Airlines also have different definitions of what is considered a reasonable baggage delay.
For the major US carriers, Delta is the most generous. They provide $50 per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed. United does not offer anything for a baggage delay, however if the bag is still missing after three days, they will consider the bag lost, and compensate you $1500. American rings in dead last, with compensation only being provided after the bag has been missing for five days.
If you and your checked luggage don’t make it to your destination at the same time, that can leave you without a change of clothes, shoes, or essential toiletries. While the airlines will work to locate your luggage, any replacement items you purchase in the interim would be out-of-pocket expenses.
Unless, of course, you booked your trip with a credit card that provides baggage delay insurance.