Left Something on The Plane? Don’t Lose Hope. Here’s What You Can Do

Everybody has a tendency to be forgetful every now and then. Sometimes, we might forget our keys or phone when we leave the house. In this case, we can usually go back and retrieve our forgotten items with no problem.

However, there are other times when retrieving our lost items is a lot more stressful.

If you have ever left an item behind on a plane, you have experienced this stress. You might feel like the item is lost forever, or you will have to go to extreme lengths to get it back. But these worries are unnecessary.

Use this article to learn the methods that seasoned travelers use to retrieve the item they left on the plane.

Return to the gate and ask the agent

You departed the plane and noticed you left the laptop on your seat. At this point, though, you’re still inside the terminal. Now is the best time to retrieve your lost item.

This is because the plane still stands at the jetway, and the next batch of passengers haven’t boarded the plane.

Also, the crew members stay on board. If the crew members leave, the cleaning staff boards the plane.

They check the entire cabin, including seatback pockets and overhead luggage compartments, for any forgotten items.

So, once you realize that you are missing something, return to the arrival gate. Show your boarding pass to the agent and describe what you left on the plane.

Tell the agent the brand of the item you left, as well as the color and size of the item. State the place where you left it if you remember.   

The agent can contact the crew members or cleaning staff, and the onboard personnel can retrieve the item.

Remember, the agent won’t allow you to board the plane to help the search. Security protocols prevent the agent from letting you go back onto the plane.  

Speak with the agent at the connecting gate

If you have left the terminal and only now realized that you left something behind, speak to the agent at the connecting gate. Show them your boarding pass and describe what you left on the plane. Again, be sure to share the brand, size, and color of the item, as well as where you left the item if you remember.   

Leave your contact information with the agent. The airline may be able mail your item to the final destination, or to your home.

Inform the baggage claim department

In the case that you do not remember your item until you have exited the security gate, head over to the airline baggage department. Speak to an airline representative and fill out a claim form. A submitted claim form increases your chances to retrieve the item.

Furthermore, request the staff call the agent at your arrival gate and ask if the crew members returned any lost items to the gate podium.

If the plane is still at the airport, you may be able to retrieve the lost item before you depart.  

Call the airline

What happens if you do not realize you are missing an item until you reach your home or hotel?

You can call the airport’s baggage department. Ask the representative if anyone returned your lost item, and if someone has, the airport’s Lost and Found department can mail it to you.

Share the serial number if you lost an electronic device. The serial number helps the airline staff differentiate the lost item from similar ones they have found.

The brands imprint the serial number of the item on the boxes and sales slips.    

What if the Lost and Found department hadn’t received your lost item? File a missing item report to the airline over the phone.

If the Lost and Found department never received your lost item, and the airline representative is unable to help over the phone, submit an online claim on the airline’s website.

The airline will send you a confirmation email, and you will find the tracking number in the email.

Contact the airline on their social media pages 

Airlines are quick to offer assistance on social media, due to the fact that people all over the world can see the post.

Post on the airline’s Twitter and Facebook pages, but never write any personal details.

A general line such as ‘I left my Air Pods on the plane at Heathrow Airport. Can you help?’ suffices. 

The customer support person will ask to share personal details through a direct message. The personal details will include your seat number, the type of item lost, color, brand, and size of the item.

Actress and singer Mandy Moore retrieved her iPad through social media. She tweeted about the item and tagged American Airlines. She tracked the iPad to the Philippines, and the airlines checked with the destination airport. They found the item, and she retrieved her iPad.

Tracking apps and devices to locate items

Set up tracking apps such as ‘Find My iPhone.’ The apps help you to locate electronic devices.

Share the information with airport employees. The information will help the employees narrow down their search.

Remember, if your devices are on airplane mode, the tracking apps won’t work. However, the apps still work if the devices are switched off.

Tracking devices including Cube Chips, Tile, and Rinex work better for keys, wallets, and laptop cases.

Apple Air Tags help to locate checked baggage. However, the Air Tags won’t work when the luggage passes through the baggage carousel. 

Contact the airline within a month 

Airlines such as United, Delta, and Alaska offer a 30-day policy on lost items. The airlines search for the flier’s lost item for up to 30 days.

The airlines declare the item beyond retrieval after the period passes.

It is wise to contact the airline staff within this timeline to increase your chances of recovering the lost item. 

Where does insurance come in?

Most airlines and other common carriers can reimburse a passenger for lost luggage or personal items. However, this only applies if the item was lost by the carrier itself. Accidentally leaving your carryon, laptop, or jewelry on an airplane would not be considered the fault of the carrier, and will therefore not be covered by them.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy can provide coverage in case your baggage or personal items are lost or delayed by the carrier up to the limits detailed in the policy. If the item is lost due to an oversight on your part, it is essential that you follow the steps in this article to retrieve it before attempting to file a claim with your insurance provider. The lost item may not be covered by your insurance if the loss is determined to be due to personal negligence, so it is important to read the policy thoroughly to understand its exclusions.

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