Ever come home from a trip and realize that the frame is bent on your suitcase? Or the wheel no longer functions correctly? If you think there’s no use in filing luggage damage claims, think again. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has warned the airlines that it is against consumer protection laws to ignore claims on zippers, wheels, straps, and handles that are damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
This was of great relief to travelers who have suffered damage to their bags — damage that wasn’t there before their trip started — only to be told the airline that managed their bags “wasn’t responsible” for the damage their own personnel caused.
Although no specific airlines were called out in this most recent warning, most airlines post luggage liability limits on their websites for travelers who experience property damage, and do not consider the damages specified by the DOT reimbursable.
Two top airlines, Southwest and American, have both responded publicly to the notice, stating that they will comply.
In fact, while returning from overseas travel, one of my bags was damaged. When I brought it to the attention of the airline’s baggage lost and found office, they said that weren’t responsible for damages of that nature, even though it occurred while it was in their control. Now, says the DOT, they’ll have to take responsibility.
The DOT’s aviation enforcement office flexed its muscle in this warning by reminding the airlines that it has the power to impose substantial fines, up to $27,500, depending on the violation.
Our Platinum Magna line includes a limited warranty for the life of the luggage and covers any damages incurred by baggage handlers. That’s one way to insure your investment, but with the backing of the DOT and its enforcement office, now you have another option for your claim.
Have you ever had a bag damaged while it was in transit? How did you handle it? Let us hear from you in the comments section or on our Facebook page.