Of the many frustrations of air travel, waiting forever for your checked bags to arrive at the baggage carousel long after you’ve arrived at your destination is definitely one. There are a number of reasons for bagge claim delays—from the size of the airport to bad weather—and in most cases, you simply have to accept it.
But if you’re a passenger on Delta Airlines or Alaska Airlines and your bag takes longer than 20 minutes to get from your plane to the carousel, you may be eligible for 2,500 bonus miles for your trouble.
How to claim your Delta Airlines baggage delay credit
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If you’re flying on Delta, the clock starts when the aircraft door opens, and stops when luggage is delivered to the baggage carousel. If any of your checked bags take longer than 20 minutes to arrive to the carosuel, you can apply for the 2,500-mile credit. You must do this within three days of your arrival.
To claim your bonus miles, go to delta.com/bagsontime and enter your information. You’ll need your SkyMiles number, departure date and city, arrival city, and trip confirmation number.
Note the fine print: you must already be a SkyMiles member at the time of your flight to be eligible for the mileage credit. The policy applies only to domestic flights in the 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, so if you wait longer than 20 minutes when traveling internationally, you’re out of luck. It can take up to two weeks to see the credit reflected in your SkyMiles balance.
How to claim your Alaska Airlines baggage delay credit
If the baggage claim wait time exceeds 20 minutes following the arrival of your Alaska Airlines flight at the gate, you can claim either 2,500 bonus miles toward your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan balance, or a $25 discount code for a future booking. This must be done in person at the airport within two hours of your arrival—meaning you’ll have to go to the Alaska Airlines customer service desk and speak to a representative.
Like Delta, Alaska has tacked on some fine print: The 20-minute guarantee applies only to flights operated by Alaska, Horizon, and SkyWest that do not require customs clearance, and oversized checked bags delivered to a separate carousel are excluded from the policy. Also, Alaska Airlines reserves the right to rescind the guarantee in the event of severe weather or airport malfunction.