Twelve years ago, I penned the following piece in response to a recurring problem we faced—guests arriving without their checked-in luggage.  Instead of crafting a fresh write-up, I’m revisiting this post due to recent events.  In the past week, three more guests arriving at Mara House have once again experienced the inconvenience of not having their luggage upon arrival.  Intriguingly, one of our guests just enlightened me about luggage tags that boast tracking capabilities via smartphones.  Perhaps it’s high time for all of us to contemplate investing in this technology.


We recently hosted a guest at Mara Housewho spent three days under our care.  On May 17th, around 3 pm, he personally checked in two pieces of luggage with Egypt Air at Cairo Airport.  However, upon his arrival in Luxor just a few hours later, his luggage mysteriously vanished into thin air.  Our team worked tirelessly for three days to track down his lost belongings and recovered only one bag.

Finally, on May 20th, after numerous phone battles with Egypt Air managers, we managed to locate his second bag, which was still stranded in Cairo Airport.  He promptly returned to retrieve it, only to discover that HALF of the contents of the second bag were missing.  This included crucial items such as connections for his laptop and work essentials.  It became apparent why they were hesitant to release the bags.

Clearly, there is a pressing security issue at Egypt Air in Cairo concerning checked-in luggage. Given that only a brief span of time passed between the bags being checked in and their disappearance, it stands to reason that Egypt Air should have the capacity to identify the culprits, as only a limited number of staff members could have had access to the luggage storage during that period.

Lost Luggage in Egypt: Steps to take to find it

When faced with the unfortunate situation of losing your luggage during travel, it’s crucial to be proactive and assertive in your approach.  Here are some actionable steps to consider, which can help increase your chances of recovering your belongings:

  1. File a Report: You must file a lost luggage report BEFORE you leave the airport.  If your bag is not on the baggage carousel find out where the lost luggage office is and file a report immediately.
  2. Be Assertive: At the airport, when reporting the loss of your luggage, don’t hesitate to express your concerns firmly.  Be clear about the importance of your lost belongings and your expectations regarding their recovery.
  3. Obtain Contact Information: It’s essential to record the name and phone number of the individual you can reach out to for updates regarding your lost luggage. Having a direct point of contact can make the process smoother.
  4. Re-entry pass: Find out if you are going to need a re-entry pass or some form of permission if you have to return to the airport yourself to either pick up your found luggage or follow up in person if it’s not found.
  5. Passport required: You will need your passport and the duplicate part of the airline baggage tag when picking up your found luggage.
  6. Frequent Updates: Stay proactive by contacting the relevant airports or airline representatives every four hours or so.  Consistent communication can help ensure that your case remains a priority and that you receive timely updates.
  7. Geographical Update: Request precise information on the current location of your lost luggage.  Knowing exactly where it is can provide peace of mind and help you estimate when you might be reunited with your belongings.
  8. Customs Clearance: When your luggage is found, you may will have to clear customs and it may be inspected – just bear this in mind.
  9. Thorough Inspection: Sometimes lost luggage is delivered, free of charge, by the airline to one’s hotel.  However, if you opt to retrieve your luggage from the airport personally, insist on inspecting the contents in front of an airport officer.  This is an important step to ensure that all your items are present and intact.  If anything is missing, promptly complete a claim form, detailing the missing items and their estimated value.
  10. Documentation Matters: In Egypt, as in many other places, meticulous paperwork is vital.  Having a well-documented record of your belongings can significantly increase your chances of recovering any possessions that have been taken from your bag.  This documentation can include receipts, photos, or any other evidence of the items you packed.

Lost Luggage Expenses: can I claim if I have to buy items?: 

If your luggage is not found within a few hours and you have to buy some essentials, it is possible that you may be reimbursed for such items.  Keep your receipts and send them to the airline  Check out Egypt Air’s policy on this here “EgyptAir issues list of step-by-step instructions on luggage issues

Pre-packing tips to help recover lost luggage

  • Take photos: It may seem OTT but a good habit to get into is taking a quick photo of the contents of your luggage as you pack it so you have a tangible record of what you packed, if required later.
  • Label your bags:These days, many of us are hesitant to display our name and address directly onto our luggage for various reasons.  Nevertheless, it’s essential to acknowledge that the term “lost luggage” frequently pertains to baggage that lacks any form of owner identification.  Airport labels can easily become damaged or torn off from bags during transit.If you are averse to putting your name on a luggage label for privacy or security concerns, it’s advisable to consider alternative measures.  At the very least, including your phone number and the name of your destination hotel can be a prudent practice.Imagine yourself in the position of an airport employee – how are they expected to identify your bag if you haven’t taken steps to clearly label it with your contact information?  Airport staff generally refrain from opening bags for inspection, making it all the more critical to have readily accessible identification.But as an additional precaution, you may also consider placing a sheet of paper inside each bag with your name, phone number, or a contact number. This ensures that, even if the external label is damaged or lost, there is still a reliable means for the airport staff to connect your luggage with its rightful owner.

Remember to keep calm and persistent in your efforts, as it can take some time to resolve such cases, but a proactive and methodical approach can significantly aid in the recovery process.  Also in Egypt more than in most other countries, a smile goes a long way.   And being polite but firm will get you better results than being angry and aggressive, believe me – I know!

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  1. Follow Mara;s advice when you book on what to do at the airport. We had no troubles when we stuck to this advice, in fact it became so much fun. The seeming chaos was something I personally revelled in. It was great. Smile. Be firm if you do lose luggage. If you do fly Egypt Air internally, it might help if you pay a bit extra to fly business class. Not too expensive but gets you off the plane first, into a separate bus and at the luggage carousel amongst the first. Again smile.

  2. Egypt Air disappointed us very much. My mother’s brand new ultra light RED wheelchair (7.8kgs) was lost by Egypt Air on one leg of our trip and her suitcase on the return leg of the trip to Luxor. I don’t think anyone is accountable in Egypt Air anymore since the revolution. Some staff are really nice while other just either don’t understand or just don’t care. In any case they couldn’t help trace and return the lost baggage. It has now gone to Insurance. It was an awful thing to happen, but Mara and Amr arranged the taxi to take us to the right place to buy clothes and other other articles. It would be a good idea to be on the safe side by putting your clothes in different suitcases so that if one is lost, at least you can have something to wear.

  3. It seems Egypt Air still has major ongoing problems with luggage safety! I have just had a lovely family from Canada staying with me. The eldest of the family has been missing her wheelchair (just imagine that on holidays!) and her suitcase with all her clothing toiletries etc since they left Jeddah 4 days ago. Today they left Luxor for Cairo still minus the wheelchair and missing luggage. Yesterday I called lost luggage dept. in Luxor Airport – they had no idea where the missing items were and Lost Luggage at Egypt Air in Cairo Airport were not answering their phones.