Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 (c) wikimedia/Aero Icarus

Cathay Pacific lost my luggage on the Heathrow-Hong Kong flight and have been useless in trying to find it. Their HK office was unresponsive to phone calls and e-mails and the Heathrow people first told me they had found it (in HK), then told me it had been sent to China, and finally described a case to me which was totally unlike mine. What can I do to get a reasonable response? I will never fly Cathay again on this experience.

There’s nothing worse than waiting a a luggage carousel after a long flight only to find it has gone AWOL. Bags usually turn up after a few days, but in any case, there is a procedure to follow:

As soon as you realise that your bag is not going to show you must report this to the airline representative (the ground-handler) located at their office in the arrivals baggage hall. Fill in the PIR (Property Irregularity Report) and keep your copy. Ask for a telephone number of the person at the airport who is dealing with missing luggage and call twice a day to check for progress – even if they tell you not to.

Your luggage will finally be considered lost if it has still not been found after 21 days. At this point you should consider how to claim for compensation. If you have travel insurance, let your insurers deal with it.

Otherwise you will have to approach the airline direct. Cathay Pacific have detailed their claiming procedure here. Under the Montreal Convention they are obliged to pay up to about £800 but you may not get that much. If you disagree with the amount the airline offers, you can take the issue to the small claims court. You can also seek help from the Civil Aviation Authority.

There is also a world tracking system that may help to trace the whereabouts of your bag. Simply type in your name and luggage number (given to you when you checked-in).

Read also: What to do if your luggage is lost or damaged

What to do if your luggage is lost or damaged