Ever Leave Something On A Plane? Simple Steps To Follow When You Do


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We’ve all been there. Have you ever left a plane in a hurry but forgot something onboard?

I know I have. Just today, a family member left a present for Baby Weekly Flyer underneath seat 3C and didn’t realize it until after they were outside of security. In this post, we’ll share a few simple steps to get your stuff back or replaced if you leave an item on the plane.

Today, a family member arrived outside of security. I greeted them with a fresh Dunkin Donuts coffee and the other family member a bottle of water. Immediately, one family member realized what they did. They left Baby Weekly Flyer’s present underneath seat 3C onboard the Air Tran 717 that just arrived into Atlanta.

I knew what to do and that there was no time to talk but just go into action. I left the family standing right there and immediately went into action to get Baby’s gift back.

What To Do When You Loose An Item On A Plane

The best chance of getting your stuff back is to act quickly. Delaying will only decrease the likelihood of your item(s) being found in time to hand over to you at the airport.

  1. Go Back To Arrival Gate – If the plane is still at the gate, go back to the gate and speak to the gate agent. The most important step when you forget something on the plane is to go back to the gate. Politely go to the gate agent or supervisor and inform them of where you left the item and what seat you were in. Chances are that the item can be recovered quickly if the cleaning crew hasn’t yet been deployed to the plane and the crew can simply retrieve the item from your seat. Honestly, when the cleaning crew is deployed, depending on the item, your chances of recovery will be significantly decreased.
  2. Go To Baggage Claim Office – If the plane is already departed, step 1 is still worth while. Perhaps a crew member left your item at the gate to be taken to lost and found, or the cleaning crew left it there. But more than likely, if your plane is gone, you’ll need to head to the baggage claim office to find out how to fill out a missing baggage form. Most likely this method will be online. But I would still go to the baggage office to see if you can file a missing item report in person.
  3. Complete Missing Item Form With Airline – This is the most important step. Make sure to fill out a missing item form with the airline. Be specific when you fill it out. Exactly where was it located and when did you realize it was lost. Also include when you notified the airline the item was lost. This will not only play an important role in notifying the airline, but will also play an important role in the next step.
  4. Investigate Your Credit Card Insurance Coverage – Investigate your credit card benefits to see if the card you purchased the airline ticket with offers coverage for missing items. Last year I lost a piece of carry on luggage onboard in the seat back pocket. I immediately notified the airline but the cleaning crew had already boarded and “didn’t find” my item. So I called the line and filled out a missing item claim. Since I had already notified the airline, I included that report with the credit card along with an advertisement for a new replacement item. A check was sent in the mail within weeks and I was able to replace the item that was lost onboard.

Other cards offer similar protection. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes offers the following protection for carry-on luggage:

Carry-on or checked luggage is covered if lost or stolen when you purchase your common carrier ticket using your Chase Sapphire card.

The Chase Ink Bold Business Card offers lost luggage protection:

This benefit provides up to an additional $3,000 per trip in reimbursement for lost/stolen luggage.

The Chase Ink Plus Business Card offers lost luggage protection:

This benefit provides up to an additional $3,000 per trip in reimbursement for lost/stolen luggage.

The Chase Ink Cash Business Card offers lost luggage protection:

This benefit provides up to an additional $3,000 per trip in reimbursement for lost/stolen luggage.

For card benefits, make sure you check with your credit card agency to verify benefits and file the proper claim to have your item replaced or repaired.

So I was able to get the item replaced due to the credit card insurance plan of the card I used to purchase the airline ticket.

Today’s incident was much easier. Since we were outside of security I immediately followed step 2 and went to the baggage claim office. The Air Tran agent heard my story and called the gate agent and hung up. She said wait right here, the gate agent is going onboard to locate the item. Only 5 minutes later, the agent called back saying they had the item and would hold it at the gate. Then the baggage claim person issued me a temporary pass to go to the gate and retrieve the item. After a 10 minute security process, a 5 minute train ride to the C terminal, and a quick conversation with the gate agent, I had Baby Weekly Flyer’s gift in hand.

The best part was, I didn’t have to wait until later to know what Baby’s gift was 🙂

Bottom Line

The Air Tran team handled our situation today very professionally with excellent customer service.

If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you know what to do. Act quickly to increase the chances of getting your item back. If your item is “lost” make sure to check into your credit card insurance plan to see what is covered under the policy.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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Comments

  1. Hi Carl – Thanks for the feedback. Glad our unfortunate could help someone. Can’t stress enough how to act quickly and things can turn out great. But if you don’t want to get in this situation, just don’t forget something on the plane 🙂

  2. Having worked for an airline, and being on the other side once, I agree with the emphasis on acting quickly!

    Good intentions and procedure get in the way, and as time passes, the item passes from a flight attendant to a cleaner to a gate agent to a supervisor to the lost and found. With so many people (who are also busy keeping flights on time and doing other jobs) the items tend to sit in intermediate places (desks, counters, pockets) and by the time they make it to the baggage office, you could be long gone. I would like to think stuff doesn’t get stolen, it just gets lost in process.

    So Weekly, great post! I didn’t realize credit cards covered stuff *you* lost, thought it was only damage or airline-lost stuff. Thanks!

  3. I’ve heard the American Express Platinum Corp. card doesn’t cover high risk items for carry on like jewelry, electronics, and a few other things…any suggestions on what to do if you leave a camera on board?

  4. Hi Noah – Thanks for the feedback. I thought this was just practical information to share that I’ve used in the past. Agree, just act fast and people will help.

    Divyesh – Not 100% sure enough to give answer, I’ll look into it though.

  5. We lost an iPod touch earlier this year and after one email to Platinum Amex, we were credited the full amount.

  6. The Chase Ink Bold coverage specifically excludes electronics and has limits ($200, I think) on jewelry. It does, however, cover both carry-on and checked baggage.

  7. I recently left my noise cancelling headphones in an overhead bin. I didn’t realize this until after I checked in to my hotel. I immediately went on the United Airlines website and filled out the Lost on Board Form. I honestly never thought I would see the headphones again, especially since my destination was a foreign country. But about a week and a half later, I got an email from United saying they had located my missing item. I was able to arrange for them to send it to me. It helped that my business card was inside the case, so they could identify my headphones. But I am really impressed with United Airlines handling of this.

  8. Thank you! This is EXCELLENT advice! Luckily, everytime I forgot something on my seat so far,I realized before stepping off the plane 😉

  9. I left a louis vuitton scarf on a British airways flight BA0073 to oman two days ago, having realised 5 minutes after getting off the plane I immediately went to a baggage enquiry desk who showed me to the BA office where there was no members of staff present, although I could see countless KLM staff and a handful of jet airways staff both of which flights had landed earlier than mine, the baggage claim assistant or myself could not locate a single member of staff from BA!!! The assistant tried to help me by contacting someone at the gate however I was not allowed to go back to the plane to check my seat. We spent almost an hour trying to contact ba and cleaning staff to see if it had been found although no one seemed to be able to check my seat. I made my way to my hotel and emailed BA immediately, I received a reply some 36 hours later with 2 phone numbers to contact. One phone number seems to go through to the electronic communication department who say that lost property has nothing to do with them and I have made 12 phone calls in 24 hours the the other number and nobody answers the phone. In the mean time the staff at my hotel had been kind enough to contact BA on a phone number that they had and the person on the other end of the call “wasn’t able to check for lost property as they had not been working the day before”. As far as I was concerned BA were a leading airline but my experience has just left me with no confidence in this airline. I traveled on business class but will in future save my money for an airline that actually answers the phone and has at least one member of staff in an airport in which their flight has just landed!

  10. Our trip was fun and full of pictures taken from my daughter’s camera. Unfortunately, my daughter left her camera behind on a Cathey Pacific airline when we headed home. She didn’t found out after we’re home. I tried dozen of times calling the lost and found and no one answer the phone then went into voice message. We even going back to the airport and file a lost report. If there’s such thing lost and found the camera should be turn in. My advice is never leave things behind when you travel. The chances of getting it back is 0% unless you ran into a group of people with heart that works for the airline.

  11. Our trip was fun and full of pictures taken from my daughter’s camera. Unfortunately, my daughter left her camera behind on a Cathey Pacific airline when we headed home. She didn’t found out after we’re home. I tried dozen of times calling the lost and found and no one answer the phone then went into voice message. We even going back to the airport and file a lost report. If there’s such thing lost and found the camera should be turn in. My advice is never leave things behind when you travel. The chances of getting it back is 0% unless you ran into a group of people with heart that works for the airline.

  12. My son left his camera on a plane on the way back from a school trip. Didn’t realise until the following morning as he got in after midnight and went straight to be. Airline were as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Either cleaners found it and kept it, or didn’t do their jobs.

    BA sent our suitcases to the wrong location and trying to find a BA rep at Orlando was like trying to find a snowball in August. Really not helpful and verbal contact contradicted what was on their “lost-luggage” website. Wasn’t impressed with them at all.

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