Trips Ahoy!

Carryout

Thought you could carry that laptop and garment bag on to your next flight? Not so fast. Several carriers have imposed further restrictions after last fall's terrorist attacks. In many cases, passengers are being limited to just one piece of luggage-meaning you may have to make the difficult choice between technology and toiletries.

Now that more of your precious cargo will be out of your hands, it's important to know what an airline is responsible for if it should lose your checked-in luggage. Federal law stipulates a maximum liability of $2,500 per ticketed passenger. But carriers aren't often compelled to pay passengers the full amount. That's up to you to negotiate.

Here's something else to consider: You can purchase additional liability insurance from the airline for up to $5,000 per passenger, usually at a rate of $5 per $100 of valuation. If all else fails, write to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Often, admonishment from the government is enough to make an airline pay you back for what it's lost.

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This article was originally published in the April 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Trips Ahoy!.

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