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 An angry passenger posted on Reddit that Delta Air Lines and Air France destroyed his checked bag and returned it with everything missing … including the sides of the bag. The photo (embedded below) was both shocking and hilarious.

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

Before I give my advice for preventing this from happening to you, here are some of the funniest comments left on both Reddit and Twitter:

“Was that thing hanging out of the plane for the whole flight?” ~ Frankbamas
“That’ll buff right out” ~ popstrippn
“Bag got ruined on the way to the ruins” ~ Alex Oha
“At least the baggage arrives on time!” ~ @JosefinoBernal1
“If you’re a Diamond you should just keep rechecking this bag as your 3rd piece of luggage and see how many sky miles you can collect” ~ cinemec

The person who posted the photo goes by Time_Wall1561 on Reddit. He wrote quite a few comments and trying to piece things together, it looks like he was traveling from the U.S. to Athens via Paris. He wrote “Air France operated by Delta,” so I’m guessing he flew Delta to Paris and then switched to Air France since Delta doesn’t fly between Paris and Athens.

I’m guessing he flew from Seattle since he said he’s “6100 miles away from home with one pair of underwear for 30 days.” Delta has a nonstop flight from Seattle to Paris and the distance from SEA to Athens according to the Great Circle Mapper is 6,196 miles.

It looks like he didn’t get his bag back when he arrived. He wrote that the bag was three days late and he had to go back to the airport. He also said: “Was for the first two days, they thought it was trash and tossed it to the side.”

He did say, “They gave me a new nice bag” and that he’s “Saving all receipts though hopefully for reimbursement.”

That’s smart. One thing you have to do after an airline loses your bag is immediately file a lost baggage report. I interviewed an expert for my podcast and he said, “Don’t leave the airport without a handwritten or a printed-out report with an actual number on it.” You have to insist on having a file reference number.

Time_Wall1561 seems like he has a sense of humor. “I was in the lost missing bag lane, I had others worried and some crying after they saw me waving my bag around,” he said. 

A reader asked him, “Did you check a duffel bag? With automatic sortation, I wouldn’t trust anything that wasn’t designed as stow luggage. That bag is as thick as a rain jacket.”

Time_Wall1561 said: “That strap was strapped down, what you are not seeing is half the bag that was torn off, there was more to the strap system. It was strapped down firmly and tight to the bag.”

I’ve checked a duffle bag dozens if not hundreds of times, although I use a leather duffel bag that’s stronger and sturdier than something made from fabric. The trick is to take the strap off and put it inside your bag. But one reader on Reddit didn’t think it got stuck in the conveyor belt. SplendidSavage wrote: “Undoubtedly, the bag was in a conveyance being driven by a Transfer Driver. Driver probably hit the same bump he/she hits everyday only this time this particular bag fell out and was dragged long enough to destroy it in its entirety. Once found, the bag was probably returned to a ReRoute office agent who is still under obligation to return what is left to OP, applied a new expedite bagtag and sent it on. Scanned as is on to the aircraft because passengers will check absolutely anything and everything when traveling so one destroyed bag may give those loading a momentary pause but they aren’t paid to question why it’s checked; they’re paid to labor. And eventually the bag made its way to OP.”

I think that’s logical so my advice to prevent this from happening to you is:
1. Don’t check a bag.
2. If you do check a bag, make sure it’s durable and can handle being run over by a baggage cart.
3. If you’re checking a duffle bag, make sure it’s tough and take all the straps off.

I think Time_Wall1561 has learned from his mistake as he wrote to a commenter who was worried about checking her bag, “Just get hard shell bags and an airtag.”

Good advice! When my wife and I check bags, which is pretty much every flight since we have two little kids, we always pop an AirTag in them and we use hard-shell suitcases

Has an airline every destroyed your bag? If yes, leave the details below and let us know if they reimbursed you.

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An Airline Executive’s Number One Tip for Avoiding Lost Luggage When You Fly

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2 Comments On "You've Got To See How Delta Air Lines and Air France Destroyed a Passenger's Bag - Here's How to Prevent it From Happening To You"
  1. Ray Chartrand|

    I rolled the dice & lost. My first visit to Hong Kong had me scouring the local markets for impossible to pass up bargains. Suddenly the night before departure, nothing came close to fitting in my suitcase. I went to the night market & bought a cheap refrigerator size suitcase that i knew I would never use again so what to heck. I transferred planes in San Francisco. My bag came down the chute & exploded when it hit the carousel. My clothes spilled out along the entire conveyor with people taking some of my souvenirs!
    A United baggage claim agent came along & gave me 2 garbage bags to retrieve & put my belongings into. That’s how they arrived on the baggage chute in Dallas!
    The airline strangely had that cheap suitcase repaired. I’m sure the cost of which was much more than I paid for it.

  2. Neb|

    KLM this summer, the beginning of July. I had a flight from Chicago to Florence (Italy) with a transfer in Amsterdam. The leg from Amsterdam to Florence was canceled while we were at the airport in Amsterdam. According to KLM, “weather-related,” although rain started about 12 hours later, and a bunch of flights that day landed and departed normally (I have videos filmed from the hotel that evening and night as proof). Then two more canceled flights the next day. Finally, after three days, we ended up in Bologna, but with only one bag out of 3 (btw, all our belongings in that bag were soaking wet).
    After 13 days (yup..13), they finally returned our two bags in bad shape. One was destroyed and not usable anymore.
    I filed a complaint with KLM, and after many emails, they finally covered my expenses related to the lost luggage (but not all of my expenses related to canceled flights; I had to file two separate complaints, one for the expenses for canceled flights and one for the lost luggage).
    Unfortunately, I am still waiting for their answer for the destroyed luggage. They asked me to send proof that the bag is not repairable, an estimated value, and the date of purchase. I sent everything, but still no word from them. I followed up at least three times, but still no answer.
    So disappointed with KLM. They also lied about the reasons for cancellations for at least one of my canceled flights just so could avoid paying the fee they are obliged to pay by EU regulation (for example, a KLM employee at the gate announced publicly that the reason for the deleted flight was that “they do not have anyone to load our luggage in the plane”; the plane was there, one of the pilots was there, all aircraft on the nearby gates were flying….just our flight was canceled).
    Shame on you, KLM. After this experience, never again with this lying airline.

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