What Happens To The Baggage After A Plane Crash?

Though it probably couldn’t be farther from their minds, at some point after many hugs and hot chocolates, the passengers of U.S. Airways flight 1549 are going to wonder what happens next to their baggage.

The National Transportation Safety Board is responsible for investigating plane crash and will take responsibility for the accident scene. In all likelihood, the airline won’t be able to access the luggage anytime soon and will end up compensating passengers for their bags in accordance with their contract of carriage:

  • Passengers will need to file a written request for reimbursement within 45 days.
  • U.S. Airlines provides a maximum compensation of $3,300 for “provable direct or consequential damages resulting from the loss, delay, or damage to baggage in US Airways’ custody.”
  • Among other things, the airline will not compensate passengers for “money, negotiable papers, securities, irreplaceable business documents, books, manuscripts, publications, photographic or electronic equipment, musical instruments, jewelry, silverware, precious metals, furs, antiques, artifacts, paintings and other works of art, lifesaving medication, and samples.

Passengers can also receive compensation from other sources, including:

  • Travel Insurance: Almost all travel insurance makes provisions for lost baggage on top of what the airline’s contract of carriage offers.
  • Credit Cards: Passengers who booked their tickets with a credit card may also automatically receive extra baggage coverage.

If U.S. Airways’ customer service team shows half the competence of their pilots, passengers will be just fine.

Terms of Transportation [U.S. Airways]
(Photo: Danarah)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.