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Heathrow has more unresolved lost luggage claims than any other UK airport


Complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority from disgruntled passengers at Heathrow are 397% higher than the UK airport average1. Flights to and from the UK to Spain have the highest lost or delayed luggage claim rate2. On average, it takes nearly eight days for delayed luggage to be returned3.


London Heathrow has the highest rate of unresolved lost or delayed luggage claims in the UK, according to the UK’s leading price comparison site MoneySuperMarket.

Research into over 2,000 complaints4 to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) looked at lost, delayed and damaged luggage complaints for flights to and from UK airports since 2015. The data, obtained exclusively by MoneySuperMarket, reveals that 636 complaints from London Heathrow were referred to the CAA, which is responsible for handling disputes that are unresolved by the airline. This is more than twice as likely to happen at Heathrow than at Gatwick, and 10.4 times more likely than at London Stansted.

Top 10 UK airports for unresolved lost luggage claims (for airports with over 1,000,000 passengers since 2015):

Outside the UK, Madrid’s Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport tops the list, followed by El Prat Airport in Barcelona and Dubai International. Between the three airports, there have been over 200 lost or delayed luggage claims to the CAA.

Separate research(2) by MoneySuperMarket, which spoke to 2,000 adults who have flown in or out of a UK airport on holiday in the last 12 months, shows that on average, passengers have to wait 7.8 days for lost luggage to be returned, with 8% of people never seeing their luggage again.

Damaged baggage is also an issue, with 32% experiencing broken suitcases or items within their suitcase when flying to or from the UK. These costs are usually covered by airlines or travel insurance policies, but 16% of travellers who didn’t have travel insurance had to pay out for damaged goods themselves.

Anna Sant, travel insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Most luggage arrives at its intended destination without a hitch. However, with the Civil Aviation Authority receiving over 2,000 unresolved luggage complaints in the past five years, it’s clear that it’s not always an issue that airlines can fix themselves."

Preparing for your trip with items such as luggage tags can help any lost items find their way back to you. Many airlines have information sheets for anyone whose luggage goes missing, which details next steps and acts as written confirmation. Noting the contents and value of your cases will also assist with any subsequent insurance claims."

It’s therefore vital you take out travel insurance with the right level of cover, as soon as you book your trip. Most policies will cover the full cost of your belongings but it’s worth double checking before proceeding with a policy.”


  1. The average number of lost, delayed or damaged item claims for UK airports with over 1,000,000 passengers since 2015 is 128, with Heathrow experiencing 636
  2. Consumer sentiment research carried out by Research Without Barriers between 26th September 2019 and 30th September 2019. The sample comprised 2,005 UK adults who have flown in/out of a UK airport to go on holiday in the last 12 months
  3. Consumer sentiment research
  4. 2,068 cases of lost, delayed or damaged luggage claim stats according to Civil Aviation Authority data from 2015 to 2019
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