I apparently pulled a bonehead maneuver recently. I was in Detroit over the weekend (no, that wasn't the bonehead maneuver) and when I came home, I flew Continental from DTW
(which had a 45 min. Lay over at IAH
) and I checked my laptop with my other luggage. Continental lost my stuff for about 20 hours and when their courier delivered it to my home he commented on how lucky I was that I had gotten my laptop back. He said, "More times than not, when I deliver lost baggage to passenger's homes and they had checked a laptop, they get just an empty case back. The airline only covers the case, not the actual computer".
Does anyone know if the policy to not compensate a passenger should a laptop be lost or, more accurately stolen, is specific only to Continental or is this common to all major airlines? Needless to say, I was surprised by this and it was a lesson learned.