What to do when your luggage is delayed?
Never ever pack medicine, valuables, or other critical items in checked luggage.
When your bag doesn’t show up, make sure you complete paperwork at the baggage office or give delivery instructions through the airline app, if that’s an option. Make sure the airline has your hotel, cruise ports, and schedule.
Tell the airline you are going to purchase necessary clothes, toiletries, and vacation gear and expect full reimbursement. Get the airline policy in writing. Are receipts required? Is there a spending limit? Must you return purchased items to the airline? Airlines are also required to inform you of your rights under applicable domestic or international regulations.
Don’t leave the airport without the local phone number of the baggage office, as well as the airline’s central phone center for baggage issues.
Make a list of all items in the missing bag while it’s still fresh in your mind, along with when you bought items and the original cost, if possible, just in case the bag never shows up. If the luggage is new or relatively new, I would add the cost of replacement. This means making a list of what goes in to the suitcase when you are initially packing it.
I would also recommend that, if you are with a group, this is the time to involve the group leader or the tour coordinator. That individual will have additional suggestions. My experience is that a competent tour leader/guide will track down the missing luggage. As all baggage tags put on at the initial airport have a lot of information coded on them with bar codes as well as intermediate airports in three-letter codes.
Below are two examples of baggage tags: the first was from many years ago and the second is a current example. Note the three-letter code as well as the bar codes that give a lot of information.
(This reminds me of a distraught woman who was slightly overweight and complained to the airline that it was making fun of her on the baggage tag. Her final destination was Fresno and the tag said “FAT” which stands for Fresno Air Terminal.)
Always put a copy of your itinerary (initial hotel, ship name and time of departure at minimum). I recommend also that you put a name tag or business card with appropriate cell phone number in a prominent position on top of everything in the suitcase.