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10 Things to Do When The Airline Damages Your Luggage

10 Things to Do When The Airline Damages Your Luggage

Handles hanging loose, sides caved in, gashes with contents spilling out and even entire wheels ripped off! We have all seen how the airlines throw luggage around. Let’s not forget how it bounces down the luggage ramp landing with a huge thud on the bags below. I have had airlines damage my luggage on numerous occasions but none so outrageously as when an entire wheel disappeared and left a gaping hole in my brand-new suitcase.

Most airlines used to have staff in baggage centers at airports to help but that seems to be an amenity of the past. When I arrived at SFO after flying through three international airports to get home, I could not find a baggage representative in sight to show them my ripped suitcase. After waiting 15 minutes and asking 3 people to page someone, a woman finally appeared and told me she could fill out a form but could not guarantee that anyone would contact me regarding the damaged luggage. Really!? I wonder what people do when their luggage fails to show up at all. Let’s face it: we are on our own here.
Taking these 10 steps will help you easily get new luggage to replace the stuff they ruined.

  1. Take a picture of the damage and the baggage tag as soon as you notice that something is damaged
  2. Search the airline’s website for a claim form and fill it out completely
  3. Find a receipt for the bag or a link to the bag online showing the cost and include with the claim
  4. Submit the form immediately because it can take a month or more to get reimbursed.
  5. Contact the carrier via one of their social media channels to get the quickest response.
  6. Check to see if your luggage has a lifetime warranty that includes airline damage and start the process.
  7. If you purchased travel insurance, contact the insurance company and file a claim with them too.
  8. Many credit cards cover baggage damage, so be sure to check and file a claim with them.
  9. Look for sales on replacement luggage to save money when you finally do get reimbursed since chances are that your particular luggage has gone down in price.
  10. Finally, only take carryon luggage if at all possible.
The airlines bear the ultimate responsibility for the damage. Contacting them first with pictures and proof gives you the best chance of getting compensated. Definitely contact them via social media where they tend to give more attention to messages.


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