What To Do When The Airline Breaks Your Bag

Dealing with broken luggage after a flight is not what any of us want to do and it can be a very frustrating experience. Here’s our comprehensive guide on what to do if your luggage is damaged by an airline.

Step 1: Remain Calm

DEEP BREATH: Being angry and losing your cool won’t help… Remember, “Stuff Happens”, and dealing with it may be a PITA, but losing your composure won’t help. It will probably make the airline people less helpful, get you into trouble, and only provide entertainment for everyone else.

Step 2: Report Immediately

Act Quickly: As soon as you notice the damage, report it to the airline’s baggage claim office. Most airlines have a time limit for reporting damaged luggage, typically within 24 hours of flight arrival. YOU CAN’T WAIT.

Documentation: File a report and get a copy for your records. Describe the damage in detail. If possible, take photos of the damage as evidence. Get a receipt or other documentation from the airline that this has happened. Even if they don’t take responsibility, documenting that it happened is the goal and can be important later for insurance and warranties to be in effect.

Step 3: Understand Airline Liability

Know Your Rights: Airlines are liable for damaged baggage, but there are limits. Familiarize yourself with the airline’s policy on liability for damaged luggage, usually available on their website or at the airport.

Liability Limitations: Airlines are not responsible for minor wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, or minor cuts. They typically cover damages to the luggage itself, not the contents.

Step 4: Check Your Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: If you have travel insurance, check your policy. Some policies offer coverage for damaged luggage, which might provide a higher reimbursement than the airline.

Claim Process: Contact your insurance provider to understand the claim process. Provide them with all necessary documentation, including the damage report filed with the airline.

Step 5: Follow Up With the Airline

Communication: Keep in constant contact with the airline. Follow up your initial report with phone calls or emails to check on the status of your claim.

Patience is Key: Resolving a damaged luggage claim with an airline can take time. Be patient but persistent.

Step 6: Repair, Reimbursement, or Immediate Replacement

Repair Options: Some airlines may offer to repair your luggage. Check if the repair will be satisfactory or if it’s better to push for a replacement. Luggage Repair Places still exist. Traveling Bags is one of those that people from all over the Midwest and the USA use regularly. Traveling Bags can provide a written Estimate and our expert opinion as to whether the bag can be fixed, How much it will cost, and/or if it needs to be replaced.

Reimbursement: If the luggage cannot be repaired, the airline should offer reimbursement. The amount may depend on the age of your luggage and its depreciated value.

Immediate Replacement: Sometimes Airlines have bags in the back room that they will give you to replace the damaged bag. This may seem like a great idea at the time, but these bags are usually not good quality bags and may not be an “Apples for Apples” trade. Unfortunately, you be forced to do this for ease of moving forward, on your vacation, but just keep in mind this will end the process of your claim.

Step 7: Learn and Prepare for the Future

Quality Luggage: Invest in high-quality, durable luggage. Hard-shell suitcases are generally more resistant to damage. Not every traveler needs Consumer Reports Best Bag, but the 3-piece deal for under $100 is a bad idea.

Document Contents: Before traveling, consider documenting the contents of your luggage. This can be useful in case you need to file a claim for damaged contents.

Travel Insurance: Insurance can be helpful for many reasons including delayed, lost, and Damaged Luggage. if you travel often consider an annual Travel Policy to cover all of your travels large and small. If you have questions email Holly at Latitudes Travel or call her at (414) 433-4873, she is a great resource and can help you learn more.

Parting Thoughts: Dealing with broken luggage can be a hassle, but knowing the correct steps to take can make the process smoother. Always report damage immediately, understand the airline’s liability, check your insurance policy, and follow up persistently. Remember, being prepared and informed is your best defense against the challenges of damaged luggage in air travel.

Safe Travels…


Any Questions about Luggage, Bags, or whatever please stop into
Traveling Bags store located at 3830 S. Moorland Road in New Berlin, WI,
Find us online at TravelingBagsMKE.com or
Call us at (414) 817-0222

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