10 Jan 2023

Lost luggage saga prompts MP's call for faster payout of travel insurance claims

8:54 am on 10 January 2023
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Dr Shane Reti has taken up the cause of lost luggage to try and help frustrated travellers. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

National MP Dr Shane Reti says travel insurers need to pay out lost luggage claims quicker, as Air New Zealand works to clear the backlog.

In the last few weeks travellers at Auckland Airport have experienced up to three-hour-long queues to locate lost luggage.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said the delays will continue in the coming months.

The scale of mishandled baggage was [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/481739/auckland-airport-s-lost-baggage-dilemma-to-continue-for-several-months-says-airline-spokesperson

a significant global issue] that would not go away any time soon, he told the New Zealand Herald.

Passengers are not allowed to search for their own baggage due to security and Customs concerns.

Dr Reti decided to take on the cause after taking a photo of Auckland's arrivals hall full to the brim with lost luggage on Boxing Day.

He said the public response to the photo gave him a better understanding of how big the issue has become, which he was able to convey to the airline.

National MP Dr Shane Reti photographed baggage piled up in the arrivals hall at Auckland International Airport on December 26.

Lost luggage at Auckland Airport on Boxing Day. Photo: Supplied / Dr Shane Reti

Dr Reti met with Air New Zealand's chief executive and government relations officer yesterday.

He said he was assured the airline was doing all it could to solve the problem, including loosening its policing of carry-on weight limits, and allowing baggage trackers.

He said travel insurers needed to pay out claims in a more timely manner.

"I was made aware from a Facebook post that travel insurers may need to do a better job to play their role in what we're seeing at the moment.

"I wouldn't have known that until a number of people communicated to me so I found myself more as a broker of information rather than anything political."

The airline told the Herald it was taking several measures to try and improve the situation, including bringing on more people to answer queries and handle lost bags, rolling out new technology to assist customers with logging and locating mishandled bags and working with other airlines to simplify baggage tracking.

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