Have you ever experienced a lost bag in Bangkok?
You know how it goes, you checked your bag in with the airline and you hope that it will there to collect at your destination.
It seems that on average one in every 250 passengers will lose a bag, so pretty much one person per airplane is going to be disappointed at the baggage carousel.
Losing a suitcase is something that many travellers dread, but are often not prepared for and if you travel frequently then it is probably likely to happen to you at some point.
If you are reading this, perhaps it has already happened to you and are looking for what to do.
This article explains the overall process of dealing with lost baggage and delayed baggage in Bangkok Airport and what to do.
Generally speaking the paperwork and insurance claim process is the same, no matter what airline or airport is involved.
There is also a link at the end of this guide, so you can trace your bag.
Losing a bag is a nightmare when travelling.
What can you do if it happens to you and how can you minimise the risk of losing your bags?
There are two types of airport lost luggage, temporarily lost or permanently lost, although the airlines will generally refer to it as mishandled baggage.
Let's work through the scenarios of what can happen to your baggage so you can be prepared for that event.
After you disembark the airplane at Suvarnabhumi Airport and pass through Immigration, then the next step is to collect your bags from the baggage carousel.
Nowadays most baggage carousels have an electronic sign that tells you what flight the bags are from and indicates the first and last bag from the flight.
When waiting for your bag, try to stand in a position where you can see all the bags entering the carousel and wait for your baggage.
If after all the bags have come off, yours didn't appear and the sign now indicates "Last Bag", then head over to the the lost baggage room at the end of Carousel No. 8 to report your missing suitcase.
In most cases there will be an airline agent also supervising the baggage carousel, so ask her first.
Tip: if there is a bag remaining on the carousel that looks very similar to yours, then tell the staff agent or the Lost Baggage office, as it may be that a fellow traveller has taken your bag by mistake.
Once you notice that your baggage is missing, go to the Baggage Service office, located at the end of Carousel No. 8.
The staff will assist you file a lost baggage claim and make a written complaint by completing a Property Irregularity Report (PIR).
This step has to be done before leaving the airport and you will require some basic details to do this:
In these situations it is useful to take have taken a photo of your suitcase before departing, as when you are weary and jet-lagged it can be difficult to remember the suitcase description.
Fortunately the staff in the office have book of identi-kit photos of various styles of bags and so just choose the closest match.
Once you have provided details to complete the PIR, the staff will attach a copy of your:
The lost baggage staff are able to check on line in the WorldTracer System, as to the current location of your bag and advise you of its location.
This is where you get to find out the whether you baggage is delayed or missing.
If your baggage is delayed and just missed a connecting flight, then usually they can deliver it to your hotel within 24 hours.
Which is fine if you are staying a few days in the same location, but more difficult if you are moving on somewhere else.
You will need to provide them with an address to send the bag to, and if necessary appropriate dates that you will be in that location.
The agent will enter all this information into the computer.
If the agent cannot find a record of your bag in the system, then that is when to be concerned.
Before leaving the office ensure that you get both the phone number of the Lost Baggage office, so you can call them about your bags location and also the phone number of your airline so you can discuss the situation with them and what can they do to help out.
Airlines generally are able to provide an emergency overnight kit, so make sure you ask about that before leaving the airport, as they are probably not going to proactively offer it.
Also ask about an allowance to cover the purchase of emergency items in the interim, whilst you wait for your lost baggage to turn up.
You may be provided with a voucher to use at local shops or at least a general guide on what is an acceptable amount to spend.
One very useful tool for tracking lost baggage is the internet tracking service, that is available to your travel agent.
You can request that the lost baggage office give you the website link to World Tracer or their equivalent, so that you can track your own problem report.
After 3 days from the initial report you can check the status in the baggage tracking system, using your last name and the file reference number.
Access to this service is extremely useful, as you can update your contact details and location as well as being able to see whether your bag has been located or not.
These are the current Thai Airways link for the lost baggage claim form needed in the next section.
For other airlines, Google search for:
"<airline name> lost baggage claim form" for the correct page.
Station offices are responsible for tracking your baggage for the first five days, if after that your bag has not been located, then you need to contact the airline baggage tracing department.
The airline only consider a bag lost if it has not been found after a month, however if your bag has not been located after seven days then download the lost baggage claim form from the airline website and start to complete it.
The claim form requires you to attach copies of:
Submit this via email with electronic attachments after one month.
After processing you will be made an offer in accordance with International Regulations.
Currently airline payments are made at the rate of USD $20 per kilogram, although you may be offered more if you are a frequent flier.
For example, if your flight class allowed you to take 30 kg of baggage then you may be offered up to USD $600.
Typically the contents of your suitcase will be worth $75 per kilo or more and it's quite clear that this amount is not going to be enough to cover the replacement cost of your suitcase and its contents.
This is where travel insurance comes in to make up the difference.
After you have accepted the airline offer you then should make a claim on your travel insurance policy for the balance, plus any additional items such as temporary clothing and toiletries.
This whole process of identifying that your baggage is actually lost and to the point that you get fully reimbursed from both the airline and your travel insurance provider is going to take about 3 months.
As a final note, in the case of temporarily lost baggage, it may catch up to you and be delivered to your hotel the following day.
In other cases, if it is only located after you return home, it will be returned to your home airport and you will have to arrange to collect it.
If you find your baggage is damaged or there are missing items from checked baggage, report this immediately to a member of the airline staff and file a written complaint at the Baggage Claim office.
In the case of noticeable damage such as where a wheel or handle is broken, the surface material is torn, or there are missing items within, then the report should include;
The airline is not going to replace your suitcase in the case of minor damage as they expect it be repaired.
In each city they have a list of approved baggage repair agents and you should take your bag to one of these sites to get repaired.
In the case of pilfered items you also need to file a police report.
The Baggage Claim office can advise where to do this, if you realise this whilst at the airport.
If you only realise later that something has been taken from your bag, then the Police report should be done in the district where you are staying.
For claim purposes, the reporting for damage or pilfered items has to be done within 7 days of completing the journey, so don't leave it too long.
Retain a copy of the Police report.
If your flight departed from the United States, then the Department of Transport (DOT) has some further information on the compensation requirements.
Once you have been given a reference number for your lost baggage then just go to this lost baggage link to update your address details and track your bag.
Hopefully any baggage can be returned to you safe and sound.
Request access to the baggage tracing link when making the lost baggage report. It is extremely useful.
Although there is very little you can do to control the airline handling of your baggage, there is some preparation work that can help to ensure that you have the best chance of your bag being returned, or at least minimising any out of pocket expenses associated with loss.
Consider the use of an Apple AirTag to track your baggage during your travels to Thailand and know where your bag is in real time.
This can be helpful in the following situations.
There are many reasons to be separated from your suitcase when overseas and this product can be extremely useful in these situations.
Amazon have a range of Apple AirTags and accessories that will allow the tracking of your items.
Which iPhone models are AirTags compatible with?
The iPhone models that AirTags are compatible with include any iPhone with support for iOS 14.5, but AirTags work best with iPhone models 11 through 13.
What accessories can AirTags be used with?
There are a wide variety of accessories that AirTags can be used with. Examples of accessories that can hold AirTags are key-chains and cases.
So far we only covered the procedure to be followed for reimbursement of your lost baggage costs with your airline.
The next step is to make an claim on your travel insurance policy and this should be done after being reimbursed by the airline (this value has to be deducted from your insurance claim).
If you do happen to lose your baggage then use the lost luggage spreadsheet to help you make your claim more easily.
Just attach it to the Declaration of Lost Items and Prices as part of your insurance claim submission.
If you fill out the lost luggage spreadsheet before you commence your travel, then you will know exactly what is inside your bag and when you come to make a claim it will be that much easier.
If you are a resident of Australia you can take out travel insurance that covers the uninsured portion of your lost baggage claim from 1Cover Insurance.
If you are not a resident of Australia, then you can use World Nomads travel policies.
General items that are lost or found in Suvarnabhumi Airport are handled by the 24-Hour Lost and Found Desk, located on the 6th Floor. (elevator at the end of Row Q)
It is so easy to leave a phone behind in the restaurant or forget to pick up your wallet as you leave.
In this case, these are the contact details in the graphic below that you need to make a report: