After a long flight, inspecting your baggage is probably the last thing on your mind. But it’s actually the first thing you should be doing after you pick your bags up.

The reason? If items are damaged, and you haven’t discovered this until you’re home, you might find some difficulty in getting a refund or replacement.

Many people are unaware that most airlines have strict reporting times when it comes to damaged/lost baggage, as a means of reducing liability.

One tourist who shared their story on Conde Nast Traveller discovered this when they returned home from a holiday. After leaving an airport and checking their baggage the next day, they realised there had been extensive damage to their golfing equipment.

They filed a damages claim with the airline, but because the claim hadn’t been filed within four hours of the receipt of the bag they were left with $300 in damages.

The articles notes that, “No matter what the deadline is, the airline most likely won’t pay if it can establish that you used an item before you reported the damage, or you were not always in control of your bag once you left the airport.”

Similar time limits are in place in Australia. With Qantas and Virgin Australia, for example, it’s recommended you report any damaged or missing baggage in person at time of arrival, or in writing no longer than three days for domestic flights and seven days for international flights. Failure to do so can jeopardise your claim.

So next time you leave the airport, have a quick check of your bags. It will only take a couple of seconds of time, but it might save a lot of money. 

Have you ever had baggage damaged at the airport? Did you get a refund?

Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock / Arina P Habich