Avoid Damage To Your Luggage And Belongings

An anonymous airline baggage handler has spilled the beans on just how poorly our luggage gets treated en-route. He offers advice for making sure your stuff stays intact and safe, saying the least damaged suitcases tend to be four-wheeled "spinners".

Photo by Colin Bowern.

This is the explanation for how bags and their contents get damaged:

I'm not going to lie, your checked luggage takes a beating. They call it "throwing bags" for a reason. There isn't an easy way around this. Aeroplanes only make money while in the air and no airline wants an aeroplane on the ground too long. Due to the nature of some aircraft, it would be impossible to turn around a 737 or 757 in an hour or less without throwing bags because it's just faster. On these planes, there are only two long and narrow cargo holds where your luggage goes.

One agent puts the bags on the belt loader, which carries it up to an agent inside the cargo hold who throws it 15m to the back where another agent stacks all the bags as if it were a game of Tetris. Wheels and handles often break or crack on impact and anything fragile inside that is not packed well doesn't stand much of a chance.

His advice: Never pack wine or alcohol in your suitcase or fragile items unless professionally packaged. The best bags to get are spinners with four wheels on the bottom:

We like these because we don't have to throw them when loading. We just roll them down the belly of the plane so your bag and its contents will suffer much less damage.

That certainly paints a better picture than your bag being thrown 15m. Check out the full article for more tips and insidery secrets about lost luggage, bag delays, and other misfortunes.

Confessions of An Airline Baggage "Thrower": Why You Should Buy a Four-Wheeler Suitcase [The Huffington Post]


    I fail to see how this is surprising/noteworthy...Everyone knows checked baggage gets thrown around.

    A good idea is avoid Sydney Airport - the bags come up the carousel and over the top and then down the steep slide to crash into other bags or the bottom of the carousel. Smash and Crash - you see the damage coming.

    And Yes never pack a bottle of wine with your clothes

      Oh right, next time I'm travelling to Sydney I'll book my flight to Melbourne instead and drive up....be realistic....and the baggage carousel is nothing. That's what they're prepared to let you see and it's not that bad. Just don't pack fragile stuff in your hold baggage and don't waste your money on one of those cheap plastic hardcases you get from those bargain bag shops. They're junk and just split or crack. Samsonite and like are where you need to be if you want that style. I just use a good quality soft case and it has survived many interstate and international business trips.

    What a load of crap. I have brought back lots and lots of alcohol, both spirits and wine from the states in my carry on.

    Most recently I brought back five methuselah burgundys from Napa, and they survived just fine. Twice a year for four years, average of 20-30L of wine per trip, never a drop wasted.

      I mean checked not carry on, obviously.

        Exactly.. as long as you pack the bottles well, in the middle on the suitcase surrounded by clothes, there is absolutely no reason it should break..

          I agree with 'Citizen'.
          Another tip: I always put my clothes, and anything that could not be in touch with liquid (incl fragrance, skin moisturiser, etc in your luggage) in white garbage bin liners / bags; as well as Fragrance, etc. in zip bags (cheap ones for food), before putting them in my suitcase. Then even in the unlikely event of those containers for liquid breaking, my clothes and electronic stuff, etc. will be safe (99% chance, if not 100%).

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now