Lost Luggage? Here's How to Handle It

iStock.com/PLBernier
iStock.com/PLBernier

There are a lot of reasons to feel miserable at the airport, but there’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling of waiting at baggage claim—and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, until all the bags are gone, and you’re still standing there without your luggage. Airlines do occasionally misplace suitcases, and there are a few different steps you should take to make sure you get your bag back and, in some cases, get compensated for the airline’s mistake.

The first step, according to LifeHacker, is to report your bag missing. Head over to the airline’s desk at baggage claim, where you’ll have to fill out a Property Irregularity Report describing your lost bag and giving the airline your local contact information. (Don’t leave the airport before doing this.) Conde Nast Traveler suggests snapping a picture of your bag and placing a business card or other contact information inside to help the airline identify it if something goes wrong. You should also make a detailed list of everything inside the lost bag.

While you’re filling out the paperwork, ask the airline about their reimbursement policies. Some airlines will pay you back for some expenses, like if you have to purchase clothes, toiletries, or other essentials while your bag is missing. Delta airlines provides one of the most generous coverage packages of the U.S. airlines, at $50 a day for up to five days. Be sure to keep receipts for everything you buy so that you can file a claim.

Before you leave the airport, make sure you get a copy of the report you filed and a contact number to follow up on the status of your bag. You should also ask how the airline will deliver the bag to you once it’s found and whether that will cost you anything.

Even if the airline doesn’t offer much in the way of compensation, your credit card might. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Prestige offer coverage for lost and delayed luggage, reimbursing you if you have to purchase items for personal or business use while your luggage is missing. Many of these cards extend baggage delay coverage to family members and people traveling on the same itinerary as the cardholder. The benefits often kick in after just a few hours of delay. In order to file your claim, you’ll want to keep whatever record the airline gave you of that Property Irregularity Report you filled out.

If the airline loses your bag for good, you’re entitled to up to $3500, according to current Department of Transportation rules. On international flights, the Montreal Convention entitled you to about $1675. Unfortunately, airlines will probably lowball you on the value of your stuff, calculating its depreciated value as used goods, rather than what it will cost to replace those items.

If you have rental insurance, it likely covers your stuff even if you’re away from home, so check with your insurance company to see if you can file a claim there for your lost items as well.

And remember, this is why you need to pack your medications and valuables in your carry-on bag.

[h/t Lifehacker]

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

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