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I’m betting that if you or your friends travel often, then you’ve either personally experienced or heard horror stories about airlines losing a record number of bags. By now, most travelers know not to check a bag. But if you have to, then drop an Apple AirTag (or Samsung SmartTag for Android users) in your checked luggage to track it using your phone. Also, pack extra clothes, medications and valuables in your carry-on, put IDs (name, number and email) on the inside and outside of your checked bag, take photos of the contents of your luggage … I have a lot more tips for getting compensated if an airlines loses your luggage, which you’ll want to read.

It seems there’s story after story on the local and national news about lost luggage, including this morning on NBC’s Today Show where Tom Costello highlighted a couple of unlucky American travelers, including one traveling to Scotland for her dream wedding. Smartly, she brought her wedding dress onboard with her but everything else is lost and it’s been over two weeks.

Here’s one of the featured tweets:

The most frustrating thing about all of this is the airlines are so short staffed they have no idea where the bags are or how to communicate the whereabouts with their customers. Another reason to use Apple AirTags or Samsung SmartTags. They are seriously the product of the summer for travelers.

Fortunately, I know of a little-known, inexpensive service that can come to your rescue if your bag gets lost in the chaos that’s plaguing airports around the world. The service is available at every single airport in the world and will do the airline’s dirty work for you. And if they can’t find your bag in time, they will pay you some serious cash.

Blue Ribbon Bags (BRB) service is a New York company that, for a $5 service fee, pays $1,000 for each bag lost by the airline after 96 hours (four days) missing—no receipts for baggage contents required. If you pay more, you get more. Paying $7.50 nets you $1,500 per bag, and $10 will earn you $2,000. They also have a yearly plan for $50. They don’t do home delivery but the airline does so they only guarantee your bag will be at the destination airport within 96 hours.


I just interviewed (watch on YouTube or listen to podcast)) one of Blue Ribbon Bags’ executives and it was an eye-opening 15 minutes as their service sounds too good to be true. CD Lazear, a South African who lives in Israel and bounces around the world to attend travel conferences and for other related business, told me all about how their service works, including how travelers receive live updates every time there is any change to their bag’s status.

BRB covers all baggage checked with the airline, including last-minute baggage checked at the gate and it doesn’t matter the number of connections or stopovers. All you have to do is sign up at least one minute prior to your flight’s departure. They don’t have an app so you have to sign up on their website. Full disclosure: I get a small affiliate fee but as you can imagine, at $5 a pop, I would need to sell a ton to make any real money so I’m writing about it because it’s a great service.

Three important things I learned in my interview with CD:
1. (13:00): CD says: “Don’t check-in a hard sided black suitcase.” It’s the most common type of suitcase in the world. It’s 22HW type and almost regarded as the default bag type. If your bag is missing, you don’t want to be the black hard one, you want to be the green one.”

2. (22:33): “Don’t leave the airport without a handwritten or a printed-out report with an actual number on it.” You have to insist on having a file reference number.

3. (25:07) There’s a ground tracking website in the U.S. called whereismysuitcase.com that once your bag lands in the U.S. you can see when it will be delivered. It will only appear when it’s scheduled for delivery.

Good to know: Blue Ribbon Bags works with some major players in the industry including: Virtuoso, Signature, Flight Centre Australia, Trip.com, CheapoAir and many more.

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15 Comments On "This $5 Luggage Service Guarantees Your Checked Airline Bag Will Arrive or They'll Pay You $1,000"
  1. Julie Butchko|

    This is amazing. I’m signing up now via your link! It’s a must-do nowadays in travel – maybe for the next few years. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Martin S|

    Interesting information. What’s not clear to me if if this service is only useful/applicable to US residents? I live in Canada, but am interested in the service

    1. Johnny Jet|

      From CD: “Yes, Canadians too.”

  3. Ryan|

    I would like to know if this service is available to airline employees traveling on Stand By status? Sometimes the employee will not know if being able to board the aircraft until 30 mins before the MCD (main cabin door) closes.
    Please let me know!! This is an excellent service, and trust me, bag losses are sky high right now. (pun intended)

    1. Johnny Jet|

      From CD: “The service needs to be purchased based on a PNR prior to departure of the first flight in the itinerary. Based on many standby rules it may be hard for the airine employee to have such details at the time of checking in a bag.

  4. MikeLAX|

    Sorry Johnny, have to disagree, I have used BRB based on your recommendation for over 3 years and paid them a lot of money. Just had to make my first ever ‘claim’ last week and found out the devil is in the details. First thing to be aware of is they have NO phone agents, at all. Not for a dispute, disagreement, claim, question, NOTHING, so just know that. So I bought BRB for my flight from Scotland to Vancouver via Amsterdam. Bags did not make it to Van on my flight. I filed the claim with BRB and the airline. Obviously, I cannot just hang around Van for the rest of my life waiting for bags since I don’t live there, so the airline and I agreed that whenever the bags show up, they need to be delivered to me in Los Angeles. So I left to continue my trip home to LAX. My bags arrived in Van after 2 days, at which point BRB said case closed and washed their hands of it. The fact that I still don’t have my bags bc the airline in Van is incompetent and can’t put my bags on the next flight to LAX, means I have NO bags after 200+ hours and BRB won’t pay or even respond to my emails anymore (remember, no phone support). They say their claim ends where you landed NOT where you and the airline agree to send the bag. THAT is the detail they HIDE. That is beyond sketchy, disingenuous and worthless. So I am about to spend $1K round-trip to fly to Van this weekend to go in person and get my bags. Thanks Blue Ribbon Bags for being like every other insurance company out of there, all talk, and no deliver.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      From CD: “Blue Ribbon Bags service agreement, on out public website and linked in every service purchased, states on the first page in bold that it’s an internet-based service with email support. Our guarantee is to the original destination airport. This isn’t hidden, it’s clearly stated.

      Sorry for the trouble that the airport didn’t deliver to the home address, unfortunately that’s out of our control.

  5. Anthony|

    Question (not a comment): We have taken to using a service to ship our larger luggage ahead to our destination hotel(s) when we go to Europe. Yes, it is expensive but it worked each time pre-Covid.
    Is this still a good process to avoid the baggage hassles, e.g. minimize likelihood of our bags getting lost??

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I’ve never shipped bags internationally because it’s always been too expensive so I’m not sure. I would ask your hotel if they charge a “receiving fee”

  6. Spencer R Rackly IV|

    So………. If I land in Basel and my bag is not there and I make all of the proper claims, when the bag arrives it WILL NOT follow the river cruise ship down the Rhine to deliver the bag?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      The luggage service only guarantees it will arrive at the airport. The airline usually will deliver it to a local address but I wouldn’t count on them delivering it to a ship that has already left the home port. I would go in a couple days early and bring a carryon with a few days worth of clothes just in case (as well as all valuables and meds)

  7. Anthony|

    Yes, it is expensive but thank you for the consideration of reply.

  8. Cynthia Dorminey|

    I have 2 questions. The first has to do with MIKELAX’s experience. I heard CD say in the interview that BRB covers the entire trip. MIKELAX was traveling from Scotland to Vancouver and then (I’m assuming also flying) to LAX. Was that on 2 different itineraries and therefore 2 different trips? He says he bought BRB for Scotland to Vancouver. That’s why I’m guessing that Vancouver-LAX was a different itinerary. If it was 2 different trips, why not buy BRB from Vancouver to LAX as well? My 2nd question is how exactly the service works. I didn’t really hear the particulars in the interview. Are they essentially doing for me what I could do for myself if my bag is delayed? When it’s happened before, I filed a report at the airline office, and then kept checking with them for updates- where it was located and eventually what flight it would be arriving on. I then went to the airport to pick up. How does BRB help insure I get my bag? What advantage do they have in getting the bag to move through the system? They don’t have feet on the ground to actually locate the bag themselves and make sure it gets on a flight to the correct airport? Do they have some sort of connections with these airports/airlines that I wouldn’t have access to? Thanks.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      It covers the whole trip as long as it’s one (PNR) reservation.
      You still have to report the missing bag to the airline before you leave and then contact BRB with the file number so they can go digging.

  9. MikeLAX|

    Cynthia, I can answer your questions definitely more accurately than BRB. Had I bought BRB for the second itinerary, since it is viewed separately, there would have been nothing to insure, since I had no bags to check b/c they were lost/delayed. So it would not have helped. They insure based on an airline record locator (that 6 alphanumeric thing you get every time you buy a trip). It all starts and stops with that locator number. You can’t carry the ‘loss’ to another record locator. So if for some reason you are buying 5 one way single tickets to hop around the world, you’d need to buy 5 BRB policies and any loss would only cover that individual policy and would only get the bag back to where that leg ended. So unless the delay/loss was on the last of your 5 tickets, you’d be on your own to get them to your 5th/final stop. As for your next question, they don’t do ANYTHING to expedite. Basically you are buying a financial insurance policy/gambling bet, that IF it takes the airline more than 96 hours to get the bag back to where it was supposed to be (NOT where you are now), you get paid. That’s it. Trust me I know. I had to hire someone in Vancouver to go to the baggage desk with all my paperwork and tell the Westjet agents to drag the bags out of their room, check them on the computer, see they were supposed to send it to my home in LAX and not sit in the room in Vancouver, and make them do that. I did that by paying $$ to a Task Rabbit hire, while in LAX, and talking this person through it via the phone. Had I not found a personal assistant to hire, who was exceptionally talented and tough, to do this for me, I was going to fly up and back to Van the next day to pickup my bags myself and bring them back. BRB never contacted me once they realized the bags were in Van (where I wasn’t) and they were off the hook. BRB is a financial derivative, a gamble that IF the bags take more than 96 hours to get to the destination on the ticket you are holding, you get rich, that’s all it is. Any more questions on my personal experience Cynthia, just lmk.

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