How can I recover lost property on a plane? or at the airport? These are two questions that you usually ask at the time of this situation or inconvenience occurring.
The rush to get to your destination, home, a work appointment, take a flight or train connection, and a long list of other reasons, sometimes makes you forget things at an airport. Even more so, inside an airplane as was my case which I discuss below.
What to do if you lost something on a plane?
1. An experience of losing or forgetting property on a plane
On a flight from Malaga to London Heathrow via Madrid, I mistakenly left my laptop in the front seat pocket. All this happened after deciding, with a few minutes to land, that I would not disturb the sleeping passenger by my side, and therefore I did not put the device in my carry-on bag as I normally do. This caused me to leave my laptop in the pocket of the seat in front of me.
As we disembarked, I left without realizing that I left the laptop inside the plane. I noticed after passing customs, as I was about to catch a taxi that would take me into the city.
2. Where to look for lost property on a plane or at an airport
I went to the airport information office at Heathrow Terminal 5. They told me that I had to contact the Spanish flag carrier (Iberia) with whom I had flown.
Following this discussion, and in the course of heading towards another part of the terminal, a very kind man stopped me and commented that he had tried to search the Iberia website and on the MissingX website, when he had a similar lost property experience months ago.
At the end of the post there are several very useful links from specialist websites and airlines.
This is what I did. First I searched the website he had given me. They work with several airports in Europe: London Heathrow, London Stanted, Copenhagen, Oslo, among others.
It is very useful to know that they (MissingX) work to return lost property through the MailMyProperty company.
3. Experience with Iberia
Iberia has a link on its website where you can search for property lost inside its planes. So, the following day I filled in the information requested (names and surname, ticket number and flight number), but my laptop was not yet there, the system message said… “there are no objects with the characteristics …”.
I waited almost 72 hours (as items may take several days to get to the office) until I checked again. The system found my laptop, and also indicated that I had to send more data (I suppose to be more secure and confirm that it was my property). I contacted them by email (after confirmation).
Iberia only processes items left in its aircraft, lounges, mobile units or buses taking passengers to/from the aircraft.
They told me that I could – by courier or transport company – pick up my laptop from Madrid, although they recommended a specific company called Casesa to do this. It was with them that I ordered the pick-up service, the price from Madrid to Malaga was 15 euros, a really small amount compared to the real cost of the laptop, and especially given the important information it contained.
If something similar happens, I recommend contacting the airline or the customer service office of the airport immediately. Also do a search on the websites I have mentioned. Below you can find the links to search several sites.
4. Links of interest to find lost property: do airlines have lost and found service?
- Southwest airlines: lost and found service online.
- Iberia lost and found service online.
- Ryanair: lost Property in the Airport/Aircraft.
- Easyjet: damaged, delayed or lost luggage.
- Lufthansa: problems with your baggage.
- United: baggage issues.
- Delta: all about baggage.
- British Airways: lost property.
Alternatively, you can fill out a form on the carrier’s website but if in transit speaking directly to a representative is a faster solution than filing and waiting for a claim via e-mail.
5. Other links to find lost or forgotten property
- AENA: the Spanish Civil Authority.
- For any items left at a TSA security check point, please contact the TSA at 866-289-9673 or visit tsa.gov.
6. Additional recommendations and advice for lost and found items
- It is also very important that you keep your flight documents: boarding pass or ticket, as well as checked baggage tags, because they are important to keep in case of any incident or claim.
- For international based airlines not listed above, the best option is to call the airline’s toll-free 800 number and ask to be relayed to the airport baggage office as soon as you notice your item is missing.
- You can fill out a form on the carrier’s website but if in transit speaking directly to a representative is a faster solution than filing and waiting for a claim via e-mail.
7. Other tips
For your electronic devices such as mobile phones, set up tracking apps like “find my phone” to pinpoint where you might’ve lost it. If you can successfully locate it, relaying that information to the proper airline employees will significantly help in the search for your devices (this feature doesn’t work in airplane mode, so take note of that, but if someone finds your device and switches it off it will become discoverable).
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Have you ever had to recover lost property on a plane or at an airport and how did you solve it?