Passengers must always go and report lost luggage to the relevant airline as soon as possible, an industry expert has said.

Recently, British Airways was nominated as being the worst performing airline in Europe when it comes to lost luggage. The UK flag carrier is expected to lose a record 1.3 million bags in 2007.

Sean Tipton, spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), said that any holidaymaker who realises their bag has been lost should report it immediately.

He explained: "They should go and report it to the baggage handlers responsible or the airline responsible - that is the first thing you do.

"While your bag is delayed, they will pay out basic amounts on a daily basis for buying toiletries and so on. That you can do through your airline, not on your insurance, while the problem is occurring."

Mr Tipton added that people without travel insurance could force the airline which lost their bag to pay them compensation.

"Obviously, there is no specific amount because it varies from currency to currency, but [compensation] currently works out at about £800.

"[The airlines] are not going to give you the £800 automatically, but complain to the airline and they will treat it like an insurance claim as well."

Mt Tipton added that passengers should also take precautions - like writing their mobile phone numbers on bags - to reduce the risk of lost luggage.

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Tony Hill Helen Gillilan

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(Tony Hill and Helen Gillilan)

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