Papa Needs A Brand-New Bag…

Posted on January 5, 2011

Photo Credit: American Tourister

Photo Credit: American Tourister

Have you ever gone to baggage claim and gasped in horror realizing that mangled lump of polycarbon rolling around the carousel has your luggage tag on it? Did you know that many airlines have a policy to reimburse or even replace your damaged bag? Well they do. Each airline has its own policy on this practice but most of them are the same. That is, if a handle is broken or torn off, the bag will qualify for a damage claim.

I first found out about this when a travel buddy of mine was flying from St Louis to Birmingham. When he arrived in Birmingham his checked bag had a handle completely ripped off of it. He took the bag over to Southwest and asked if there was any recourse for the damage. The Southwest agent told him that since it was a handle he could file a damage report and the airline would reimburse him for the cost of replacing the damaged luggage with a similar item. And, because the damaged bag had to be left with the report, Southwest gave him an enormous SWA duffel bag to transfer his clothing into. That is some pretty good customer service.

Fast-forward a few months to the Thanksgiving holidays. I was coming back from a relaxing holiday trip to Key West and was in baggage claim to retrieve my luggage. My bag looked fine upon approach but when I went to take it off the turnstile I noticed the top handle was detached on one side. Detached is a nice way to say that it had been ripped out of the frame of the bag by the rivets and screws. I was so ready to get home I did not even think about taking the bag to the Delta agent and asking about their damage policy. I just rolled the battered suitcase out to my car and went home.

On the drive home it occurred to me I should have filed a damage report. I was pretty sure that it was too late since I had left the airport, but thought I would call Delta when I got home and ask if there was anything that could be done. To my surprise, the Delta representative told me I could go to their Web site and download a damage form, take my bag to the airport and leave them with a Delta baggage agent. As long as I did this within a 24-hour time frame they would work with me. I was astonished and very happy I had called Delta.

About one month later I got a call from Delta telling me they had processed my damage report and would be sending me a brand-new Samsonite that was similar in size and function to the bag they had damaged. Samsonite? Really? Because the bag that was damaged was like a California Packer or something like that. This was awesome news.

A week later the new bag arrived at my home. It had been shipped directly from the factory and was still in the plastic. Now that is good customer service. It is also testimony to the old saying, “It never hurts to ask.”

For more information on Delta’s lost or damaged baggage policies or to download a claim form Click Here.

For more information on Southwest’s lost or damaged baggage policies Click Here.