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American Airlines Passenger's Luggage Gets Crushed After Being Forced To Gate Check Bag

May 23, 2024

by Gary Leff on August 31, 2023

They say there are only two kinds of checked luggage: carry on and lost. But that’s not true. The third kind is damaged. The two most common airline complaints with photos on social media are passengers being required to gate check carry on bags when their plane’s overhead bins are actually empty, and scuffed or damaged checked bags.

Bags aren’t handled gingerly. They’re tossed around by baggage handlers, and they get damaged inside the airport’s luggage handling system that moves bags from the check-in counter out to the ramp, and from planes inside to baggage claim.

Luggage isn’t ever going to remain pristine. The purpose of a bag is to protect its contents. So it’s striking what happened to the contents of an American Airline passenger’s bag – when their bag apparently got run over by a baggage truck:

my luggage got ran over. has this happened to anyone else? by u/ruffragette in americanairlines

The passenger had been forced to gate check their bag. At baggage claim they found that the bag had been destroyed – along with its contents – and all of the clothing inside was “filthy.” The passenger reported, “they gave me a new carry-on, but like… what the heck was i supposed to put in it??”

A maintenance worker for another airline shared in response to the photos,

One night, raining heavily – with that stupid asphalt/concrete mix that seems to turn into a black hole yet make every light super glaring into my eyes – just driving as usual with a colleague to one of our overnight aircraft in our work truck. I swear there’s a wierd [sic] noise coming out of the front end.

“Nah it’s just piece of s*** work truck” my colleague says.

I go about another hundred feet and I stop the truck. It’s something wierd. Sure enough – standard black generic bag like every other piece of luggage is wedged basically under the front of the truck.

…I collect the bag and go and sheepishly drop it off at baggage services. There’s enough of a tag remaining to identify its owner. These black bags impossible to see on these rainy nights. Just an accident. Falls off a cart. Gets collected in another vehicle.

It’s more common than you’d think. A Delta passenger reported something similar this week, too:

The way delta/airfrance returned my checked baggage. Everything is missing. by u/Time_Wall1561 in delta

When I picked up a ripped apart checked bag from Alaska Airlines in Seattle once, they told me I could either (1) take a new (cheap) carry on from the baggage office, or (2) file a claim to have my bag replaced. Since I was in the middle of a trip and needed a bag for everything that was inside, and didn’t have time to go shopping, I opted to take them up on the new bag. They didn’t make me sign any sort of waiver in exchange for the bag, so I pursued a claim anyway. Fortunately my bag’s contents were fine.