Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
Your abilities to sue an airline are very limited, unfortunately. The "contract of carriage" they mention is just the agreement that you clicked through or agreed to by using the ticket and it severely limits the damages for which you can sue. In addition, you almost certainly agreed to sue them where their main headquarters is located due to a "Choice of Law" and "Choice of Venue" provision that is in the same contract.
These are usually located on the website under the terms and conditions or on the tickets, ticket covers, receipts, etc. that you get from the airline or the booking service.
Once you figure out where you have agreed to sue them then you contact the Secretary of State, Corporations Division, for that state and you give them the name and ask for their "registered agent for service of process". It will usually be a company called CT Corporation and you can ask that the clerk of courts where you file the lawsuit to "serve them by certified mail". The clerk actually sends the papers to them by certified mail, return receipt requested and the receipt goes back to the clerk.
While they sometimes say things like they won't pay for anything over $50 unless you have the original receipt, they really can't hold you to that in a lawsuit. The only exception would be if that is in their terms that you agreed to and even then most courts will allow you to offer evidence on the value. That evidence can be your testimony.
However, you aren't entitled to get replacement value or what the items cost new regardless of what their contract says. Under the law you get the value of the items at the time they are "lost or destroyed".
I've found that mounting a good social media campaign against them often gets as good a result as suing them. Just be sure and use the right hashtags, etc
Also, when I say you "agreed" to certain terms I'm not saying you actually agreed. What I am saying is that you legally agreed by checking boxes, clicking through, etc.
If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.
Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered. In addition, once you issue your Positive Rating the question will lock open and no longer time out so you can come back to it anytime in the future if you think of any follow ups.