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Let’s say you’ve just gotten off a long flight, and you’re ready for a vacation or a work trip.

You’re waiting to claim your luggage, and you are thrilled to see your bag come off that conveyor belt, but when you pick it up, you realize it’s damaged. Or, it looks fine, but when you open the bag at your hotel, the contents were somehow ruined.

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Unlike with lost luggage, there is virtually no regulation for airlines to follow in regard to damaged luggage. Most airlines give passengers 24 hours to file a damaged luggage claim, and if you don’t file within that window, you’re probably out of luck. So if something is damaged, contact the airline immediately.

Douglas Kidd, executive director of the National Association of Airline Passengers, shares a story of his daughter losing a bag while traveling. It was found more than a month later, on the grassy border of the tarmac.

“It was a green soft-sided bag, so it lay outdoors in the rain, unnoticed and undisturbed for all that time,” Kidd says. “All of the clothes inside were ruined. Not wishing to repeat the experience, my daughter purchased a rather expensive, bright orange, hard-sided suitcase for her next trip. The kicker? Baggage handlers managed to drop the bag on its corner, breaking the hard shell on its first use.”

Has your luggage ever been lost?

Had Kidd’s daughter had LugLoc, she may not have experienced such difficulties. The innovative new device is the perfect way to keep track of your bags—whether travelling by plane, train, boat or some other means where you’re not always in possession of your luggage.

LugLoc offers all travellers the ability to track any bags by purchasing a tracking system, which combines GSM and Bluetooth technology, and then downloading an app. With a simple tap to the app, a map will appear showing the location of any bag, regardless of where in the world it is.

Getting results from an airline isn’t always easy. After a long flight, you’ll likely be tempted to put off filing a claim because you want to eat, or prepare for a meeting if you’re taking a working trip, or head to the beach if you’re going on vacation. But it’s important to file a claim immediately, and for many airlines, reports of damage need to be made in person.

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Each airline has its own policies in regard to damaged, lost or delayed luggage. Check your carrier’s website before calling or emailing, so that you can make your case with knowledge.

Also, airlines are not liable for damage caused by defects or poor quality, or damage that is considered the result of wear and tear. Those include

Cuts, scratches, scuffs, dents and stains

Damage to wheels or handles

Damage to fragile or perishable goods

Damage that is the result of over-packed luggage

Loss of locks, straps, and tabs that are not part of the luggage.

You might even be tempted to give up because you haven’t kept records, or because you’re not making progress. If you get to that point, you can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation at its Aviation Consumer Protection page at www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.