Baggage Compensation and Depreciated Values

Q. At the end of last June, I flew with Norwegian from Boston to Berlin. My outbound flight was absolutely great and without issue. I scaled down my luggage to just a backpack and a small carry-on, which I easily stored on board during my flight from Boston to Oslo, and onward from Oslo to Berlin. On my return flight home, I arrived at the airport super early, and was told by the check-in agent that my carry-on was too large and must be checked. This came as a shock to me, as I had only just purchased the bag based on the fact that it was standard carry-on size. As I pleaded my case, the agent informed me that not only was my bag too big, but there was suddenly no room for it on the plane. This seemed odd to me as I had arrived so early and was one of the first to check in for the flight.

Ultimately, my bag never made it to Boston. While the Norwegian staff in Boston were very helpful in filing a report, my bag has yet to be found and I'm wondering what my options are in terms of compensation for my lost items which I estimate to be around $1,025.

A. Sorry to hear about your bag! Every traveler is bound to suffer a lost bag at least once, probably more than once, no matter who we fly or where we go. As far as compensation goes, airlines will typically depreciate the contents value, unless the passenger can provide proof that the missing items were very recent purchases. Of course, these rules tend to be more favorable for passengers traveling international rather than domestic. And according to international regulations, liability is limited to 1131 SDR (Special Drawing Rights).

We reached out to Norwegian who, as mentioned above, depreciates the claimed value by 30% unless there is documentation showing that the contents are less than a year old, in which case they cover the amount claimed. Given the misunderstanding surrounding your baggage size, Norwegian has offered to compensate the full $1,025 listed in your claim.

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