Checked Baggage Handling and Damage

I recently got back from a trip to Florida, (which I will of course talk about more in a later post,) but the first thing I wanted to write about was baggage and the general flying experience. If you know me well, then you know I hate checking a bag. I have squished two weeks worth of clothing into a backpack to avoid it on multiple occasions. It’s probably been two or three years since I have been so unsuccessful at packing that I needed to check a bag. Needless to say, I don’t tend to give a lot of thought to checked bags. I will spend an unreasonable amount of time thinking about carry-ons, but that’s a whole different story.

On my recent flights I was a bit derelict in my booking and ended up with some seats remarkably far back in the cabin. It’s not all bad to sit back that far, for instance, you’re more likely to survive a plane crash in the back than anywhere else in the plane. That being said, it takes an eternity for all the people in front of you to get off the plane. The family trapping me into my seat on my final flight discussed their martyr-like plan to wait till everyone was off the flight before moving so I figured I would just get comfy and watch out the window for the next hour or so. Luckily, being so far back had a second great perk that I didn’t know about. You can actually watch the checked bags zip off the plane and get packed onto the little rolling racks! That might be better than surviving a plane crash, but I’m not 100%.

At the time it was a warm 10°F and just one guy was out there tossing bags around. He was hustling, but the bags were coming at him faster than he could stack them. I felt pretty bad for him to be honest. He didn’t look like a particularly big guy and some of those bags looked like they had a few hundred pounds of souvenirs in them. A few bags fell off the belt and onto the ground before he could catch them. He did notice I was watching after that and started to build a small fort of bags around him instead of putting them on the trolley which was a shame. I sort of enjoyed watching the bags blindly face the edge of the conveyer belt and promptly flop off.

The family did decide to let me out of my seat when they thought the plane was good and empty and as I walked down the terminal I was wondering how many people would complain about broken bags or their crushed contents. Despite every airline policy (that I know of) stating you are 100% responsible for the damages to your bags, there is some hope for those travelers who find themselves with busted bags. Turns out, new legislation has been passed that states airlines are responsible for damage to bags despite what airline company policies claim. So, if you’ve got some damaged bags you might want to call up your airline and complain. The phone reps might not be aware of the new law and you could earn some miles or cash. (I’ll just continue to chuckle at the inefficient processes used by airlines and hang on to my carry-on though.)







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