Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
My friend, and fellow Delta flyer, Mike took the above video coming back from The Chicago Seminars. He said:
“Suitcase and crowbar. Not a good combination”
Mike, I would agree with you. It is scary what can happen to a plane-side checked item, let alone one you check with our airline.
When I was younger, my mom would wave goodbye to her bag like you are saying goodbye to a long lost friend; I have at times even seen a tear in her eye as she always said you never know if this is the last time you will ever see you treasured belongings. Back then, I always thought to myself – “MOM! – come on! it will be fine”. It is a fun treasured memory of flying when I was a wee lad.
But what if, when you are waiting at the baggage claim, you see your bag coming down the chute and around the belt and you can see something has gone very wrong? Delta tells us:
“If you feel your baggage was damaged during a flight, bring it to the Delta Air Lines airport baggage office immediately after arrival. All damages will need to be reviewed and evaluated by the baggage service office personnel. If advised, complete the Baggage Claim Form above, in “Begin Your Claim“, as soon as possible. You must report your claim within 24 hours for U.S. travel and seven days for international travel.”
Normal Wear & Tear is not covered. What is NW&T? Dirt, scuff marks, a small rip maybe. Now if the bag comes out wrapped in duct tape and ripped open, that is not NW&T. Delta tells us:
“In the course of normal handling during travel, your luggage may show evidence of wear and tear. Like most major airlines, we don’t accept liability for normal damage to checked luggage, such as: broken wheels or feet, lost pull straps, minor cuts and scratches, damage resulting from over-packing, damage to retractable luggage handles, fragile or perishable items damaged during transport, items unsuitably packed or unsuitable for transportation, damage resulting from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspections”
Ah can Delta blame it all on the TSA? First off, the TSA should always put a paper inside telling you your bag was opened by the TSA. What then?
“Random Search Damage: If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made a random search of your bag, you will find written notification inside your luggage or a seal outside of your luggage, informing you of such. If you feel they damaged your bag during a random inspection, you can contact them at 1-866-289-9673.”
I would rather stick with Delta if I can. We have heard so many horror stories about rogue baggage handlers or TSA stealing things from bags. Please never put any of these things listed below in your checked bag as Delta says:
“Delta is not responsible or liable for cash, camera equipment, commercial effects, computer software and equipment, electronic equipment, fragile articles, jewelry, lifesaving medication, negotiable papers, irreplaceable business documents, works of art or other similar valuable items contained in checked or unchecked baggage. These types of items should be carried on — and kept in sight.”
But that is inside. How much can you get for your bag itself? On a case by case basis Delta will advise you if the bag is “destroyed” (i.e. you may feel it is, but Delta may not). It is always a good idea to save the receipt (even a PDF copy in your phone) for the bag as if it can not be repaired you may be able to get a check from Delta for a new bag. I have read of several accounts of this but also many where the claim was denied.
What if Delta says the damage is not covered and denies your claim. Do you have any recourse? Check with the credit card you paid with as they may cover it when you paid for the ticket with the card.
I reached out to AMEX about such things as a broken wheel or other bits that Delta could say NO to and to find out what they could do as these are not spelled out directly in the coverage description from AMEX. They indicated that as long as you paid in full (including miles) with the Delta Platinum or Delta Reserve AMEX cards more than likely they will cover these non-Delta covered events (note: does NOT include the Delta GOLD AMEX personal card but YES on the business). Another card that has the same coverage is the NON-Delta AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards card and the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card that pays 3x points for buying airline tickets. I have had nothing but outstanding results with them so I trust this will be the case even though I have not had it happen to me in real life.
Other ideas to consider. Be sure to take lots of photos of the bag and the damage. If you need to, get social media involved if Delta tells you no way pal! If you are a medallion, why not play the loyalty card. Let the rep saying no to you know that you are a loyal Delta flyer and this bag had flown 10’s of thousands of miles on Delta and this had never happened before – do they really want to deny a loyal Medallion?
Personally I don’t buy very expensive luggage (as you can see in the photos above). We patch them as needed and if they can make it a few years we are happy and just don’t worry about it all that much. Want even more info about bags and luggage? Be sure to take the time to read the posts in the Essentials Tab E12 for more. – René
PS – Need MQMs? Fly with me HERE!
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