Baggage handler reveals the truth about why bags get damaged – and how to avoid it

Arriving at the airport to find your luggage is damaged is a traveller’s worst nightmare, yet its an unfortunately common occurrence. Last year, data from MoneySuperMarket revealed that the Civil Aviation Authority received over 2,000 complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regarding lost, delayed or damaged luggage complaints about flights to and from UK airports since 2015.

Yet, according to one baggage handler, there is a key reason why this happens – and it seems travellers can easily avoid it.

Posting their insight to a Reddit forum, the anonymous baggage handler explained: “The heavier your bag is, the harder we have to push or throw it into the cargo bin.

“We’re on strict time restraints and when you have a 100lb bag and we have to stack it quick, it’s not going to be pretty.”

They added: “We try to be nice to your bags, honestly. S**t happens.”

However, the worker did have some advice for holidaymakers who want to avoid the risk of a busted bag.

“Try packing two, smaller bags under 50lbs,” they recommended.

“You’ll save money by not having to pay for the heavy bag fee, plus it makes it easier on our backs.”

Regardless of whether passengers go easy on the packing or not, it’s likely their bag won’t come back looking brand new.

“Don’t expect your brand new bag to be pristine when you get it back.

“It will get scuffed, zippers broken, etc. Usually, it is not the baggage handler’s fault, and is due to getting caught on the belt loader.”

There are also certain types of bags which are also less likely to be damaged, regardless of weight.

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Previously, a former baggage handler told Reader’s Digest that wheels are vital in protecting luggage.

“If a bag has four wheels, we can push it down the length of the plane when we load it,” they said.

Another worker echoed this, recommending something “robust that rolls”.

In the same Reddit forum, they wrote: “You know those four-wheeled hard case bags, they are light and easy to manoeuvre, easy to stack, much more likely to keep your belongings safe.”

Of course, regardless of what type of suitcase or what weight your baggage ends up being, there is one crucial tip passengers should follow if they want to avoid financial losses in any event.

Anna Sant, a travel insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, advises: “Most luggage arrives at its intended destination without a hitch.

“However, with the Civil Aviation Authority receiving over 2,000 unresolved luggage complaints in the past five years, it’s clear that it’s not always an issue that airlines can fix themselves.

“Noting the contents and value of your cases will also assist with any subsequent insurance claims.

“It’s therefore vital you take out travel insurance with the right level of cover, as soon as you book your trip. Most policies will cover the full cost of your belongings but it’s worth double-checking before proceeding with a policy.”

Travel insurance policies vary in cost, depending on your coverage level, but are a holiday essential.

“Wherever you’re travelling, it’s important to take out comprehensive travel insurance before you go,” advises the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

“Travel insurance policies are designed to provide cover for many eventualities, including medical expenses, a trip being cut short or cancelled, and loss or theft of possessions.”

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