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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Complete Missing Item Form – 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.
- 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.