Airline Damages My Luggage!
Being in this business, we see a lot of people with damaged bags. Face it, when you get a few hundred 50 pound bags rolling around luggage carousels, falling off the carts on the ramp and getting thrown into trunks, things are bound to happen. Here are a few tips if the airline damages your luggage. What can you do? First, when you claim your bag, take 30 seconds and look it over. If there’s a rip or tear, or something is broken, note this and report it to your carrier BEFORE you leave the airport, train station or cruise pier. Most times, carriers are not responsible for damage, but sometimes, in the interest of good customer service (and good reports on social media) they will offer you something. But if you do not report damage, the chances of them helping you after the fact are slim and none. Frequent traveler status can help in this case, as can being nice! Sometimes a carrier will replace a bag that was damaged right at the airport, on the spot! Perhaps you’ve discovered that your bag got soaked and your clothes are wet? They may be willing to cover dry cleaning or laundry costs. Again, just ask! In other cases, your carrier may just send you a check for the replacement cost of the bag. Chances are you will not get the full retail value of a new bag, but you may get some sort of money towards a new piece of luggage. Saving your receipts when you buy new luggage is really important. Check the warranty on your items as well. Several of the higher end manufacturers, for example Briggs and Riley, will cover common carrier damage. Keeping the paperwork will expedite the process of getting the bag repaired or replaced. Take photos of the damage as well. You may have to submit paperwork to the carrier upon your return and they’ll want to see proof. Also, check with your credit card and trip insurance if applicable; sometimes they will provide you with coverage for damaged luggage or personal items. Will you always prevail? Probably not. However, you’ll increase your chances if you report the damage before you leave the airport. If you ask, the worst the carrier will do is say NO. But if you don’t ask, you have no chance to hear “yes, we can help you…”