Get a Free Briggs & Riley Carry-On Bag With Your Worst Damaged Bag Story

The full year 2012 baggage stats are out from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the airlines had a good year. That doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of delayed, lost, and damaged bags out there. It just means there were less than in previous years. For that reason, I’m teaming up with Briggs & Riley to help those who may have had a bag put through the ringer. Read on to see how you can get a free carry-on bag.

But first, let’s talk about the numbers. In 2012, there were 3.09 reports per 1,000 passengers. This is a bad way to measure baggage problems, but it’s still an improvement over 2011’s 3.35 reports per 1,000 passengers. That may not sound like much, but then again, think about how many people flew. The DOT reported 574 million passengers. That translates into just over 1.7 million bag reports for the year.

Most of these are just bags that are delayed or come in on a different flight. Some are gone for good. But a few are bound to be roughed up pretty badly. Click to see a slideshow from Briggs & Riley of some of the ugliest bag damage out there. Here’s my favorite:

Destroyed Bag

So now it’s your turn. In the comments on this post, tell us your worst damaged bag story. It doesn’t even have to be from 2012. The worst damaged bag story (as determined solely by me) will get a free carry-on bag from Briggs & Riley. Seriously, just take your pick of any of the carry-ons on the website. Deadline is Sunday night at 11:59pm PT (more details below).

With a Briggs & Riley bag, you won’t have to worry about damage at all. That’s because Briggs & Riley has a lifetime guarantee. If your bag is damaged (excluding cosmetic wear and cleaning), the company will fix it for free forever. All you have to do is take it into a service center or pay the cost of sending your bag in.

So read the details below and then let’s hear your worst.

Details: Entries must be made via the comments section by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Sunday, February 17. You must include your contact email in the “Email” field when you leave a comment. If you win, you will be contacted only via that email address within a week of the end of the contest. You will have one week from when the email is sent to claim your bag. Email addresses entered in the “Email” field will not be publicly visible on the website. Email addresses will not be used for any other purpose than to notify about winning.

[Disclaimer: I am not receiving any compensation for this. I was approached about giving away a bag to a reader, and thought you guys might like it. Besides, it’s a bonus Wednesday post!]

[Original photo via BBC]

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60 Comments on "Get a Free Briggs & Riley Carry-On Bag With Your Worst Damaged Bag Story"

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jd
Guest
Here’s my bag story which was not at all as disastrous as those pics but still quite nervewrecking at the time. I was backpacking in China in December of 2012 and had bought a brand new 170Eur Fjällraven backpack for that trip. Everything was going great until I lifted my backpack off the conveyor in Shenzhen (flying in from Kunming). Weird smell… Kind of smells like sesame cookies… (mmm cookies), wait… what’s that dripping on my toes? As it turned out a fellow passenger had had a sesame oil bottle in their luggage which broke and completely (and I do… Read more »
cahilldot
Member

good thing it was not fish sauce or u would still be washing it

Eric C
Guest
While sitting at the gate (F2, ORD) several years ago I saw a belt-loader sitting atop a hard-shell ski case. The right two wheels were off the ground, the case was shattered, but somehow propping up approx 6000lbs of machine. You could see the skis inside. Two guys were trying to get the belt-loader off by driving it forward and backward repeatedly, which only shattered the case further. After about ten minutes of this the case was destroyed in the middle and scratched to hell along the bottom, but still holding up the belt loader. Eventually a supervisor stopped the… Read more »
Brandon
Guest
My spining 32″ suiter managed to lose a wheel somewhere between Ottawa and Toronto. The airline’s 1st offer was a $50 future travel voucher (yeah right that”s almost equal to a $450 suitcase) the 2nd offer was to have it repaired on their dime at a local repair facility that offers direct claims service for most airlines in town. I went for option 2. After 6 weeks of the bag languishing at the repair shop I was told it was ready to be picked up. When it was brought out it was in worse shape then when i brought it… Read more »
Steve Kalman
Guest
This is unlikely to be a winning story, but does say a lot about B&R’s warranty. At bag claim in PHL a few years ago, my overnighter bag showed up last, and damaged. What could only have been a forklift “fork” went through the bag sideways, tearing out holes in the side zippers and the inside covering (*). It also snagged the jacket of my suit. USAir paid $200 for the suit (cost a *LOT* more, and relatively new). They also gave me $200 for the ruined suitcase. Said that was max on both. Took months to receive the money.… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
Since just about every airline on the planet charges for checked bags, I’m surprised they haven’t started a fee system based on what the checked bag is made of. A lower fee for hard sided luggage, to a higher fee for soft sided bags that can get damaged easier. That actually makes sense in away, the higher soft luggage fee money can goes towards paying off claims and for the extra fuel needed for the heavier hard sided luggage. But since airlines don’t do that, there must be a reason and it can’t be because they haven’t thought of it.… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member

Im amazed we still track lost baggage rates as “X bags per 1000 passengers” not “X bags per 1000 bags”

Nick Barnard
Member

Agreed. However I’m curious if its possible to back out the X bags lost per 1000 bags number from a 10-K analysis? Although they probably don’t put enough information in there to figure out how many bags were checked vs. passengers carried.

noahkimmel
Member

presumably, you would need a bags/pax ratio which is likely not there. Unless the 10-K lists total number of bags and total pax, which might be possbile, I doubt it.

Nick Barnard
Member

However the airline doesn’t get as much packing flexibility with hard sided luggage. I’m quite sure a collection of just hardsided luggage is harder to nicely pack onto a plane.

Keith
Guest
Sometimes I’d take damage of loss. On a regional jet the agent decided my garment bag was not going to fit overhead (though there was plenty of space, a story for another day). I signed and gate checked my garment bag, a nice suit, shirts, all needed for the upcoming job interview. Namely the reason I didn’t check it (even with a free checked bag with United credit card). So as they begin unloading the gate checked bags I patiently wait in line. I get to the baggage cart and my bag is no where to be seen. No worries… Read more »
pennifer
Guest

I don’t have a bag horror story (surprising, given all my travel in Siberia), but did want to say that I love my Briggs & Riley 22″ – it’s traveled all over with me for years and never even whimpered.

Sanjeev M
Guest

Interesting. Fortunately, I don’t have a bad baggage story. Now that carry-on only is the best way to go, you really do need a sturdy bag like the one mentioned above.

ptahcha
Guest
Out of almost 15 years of frequent flying, I only had one true damaged bag. (lucky me?) Continental LIR-IAH-LGA. The bag was slightly over 50 lb, but because we are in first class, we are entitled to the extra weight for free. The bag arrived fine in IAH, and we rechecked it after clearing customs. At LGA, our bag was the last to come out, even with the priority tag, and it looked like someone had ran over the bag, with some portion of the luggage mangled: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ptahcha/2503781397/ This was around 11pm. There were 2 CO agents working at the… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member
The only bad bag story I have is when WN crunched my golf bag, destroying the travel bag and the golf bag inside of it (fortunately clubs survived). I was told by the agent in FLL that since the wheels were damaged as well, WN was not liable as wheel damage is “wear and tear.” I showed her the cuts and utterly ruined bag and she maintained that WN was not liable because in addition to other damage, the wheel was damaged. Such ridiculousness ended with a DOT complaint. Can we talk about the VX additions (possibly first smart moves… Read more »
john96
Member
This may be an urban legend, but I believe it happened as told to me by an HP Station Manager while I was installing his IT equipment. He used to work for CO in LAS (many many years ago). And one flight (a DC10 as I recall) came into LAS carrying live animals in cargo. One of the live animals was a baby elephant … who apparently did not like the inflight service, and broke out of his crate, and proceeded to tromp on the luggage and cargo in the bin for the duration of the flight he was free.… Read more »
matt.traynor
Member
Slightly off topic but a story worth sharing I hope. A few years ago I worked in an office near Victoria Station. One lunchtime whilst out walking with a colleague, he suggested we pop into the station as he wished to visit his friend, who was on the check-in desk for AA’s remote check in service for Gatwick (idea being you could check in at the railway station, then take a leisurely train to the airport etc). Anyway we walk in and his friend is dealing with a customer who’s obviously having a bad day – and the customer is… Read more »
Sheila Englebardt
Guest
After a business trip in Auckland, NZ, my husband and I left for a week on the South Island. We were flying via Christchurch to Queenstown. We sat in the Terminal waiting area in Christchurch chatting with a colleague And her family while waiting for our 2nd flight when I heard my name being paged. I looked up to see where to go when I saw a desk agent holding a black bra high in the air and calling my name! So embarrassing. I ran over to find out what was going on. It seemed that me suitcase’s zipper had… Read more »
jyarmis
Member
I bought one of those TSA-approved locks for my big rolling garment bag. (Why I don’t know since it’s generally TSA we need protection from.) Anyhow, when I get to my destination, the lock had been clipped and there’s the form letter inside saying “TSA was here. It’s bad enough that they clipped the lock but they also clipped the zipper pull and a portion of zipper. I could file a claim with TSA but their burden of proof would stymie even Mother Teresa. I was left with an unusable bag. Thanks, TSA. You of course know their motto: “solving… Read more »
bethany.rogers
Member

United broke my guitar :)

noahkimmel
Member

winner (if you can complain about it in a music video and post on youtube)

gagan.lic
Member
I checked in a small sized bag on my Delta flight from ATL to DFW. The flight in atlanta was cancelled due to bad weather and the next flight was only the next day. But as Delta was to tell me in a shortwhile, my baggage was already sent to DFW by some other flight. So, I boarded my flight next day to dallas and went off to baggage claim only to find my poor bag in a pretty beat up shape and torn from one side barely holding the contents from falling outside with a few threads or so.… Read more »
j.monat
Member
It was not sesame seed oil but just as pungent. We checked bags on an Alaska flight from Seattle. When we picked up the bag in Long Beach, it smelled decidedly like dead fish. Some one had a salmon packed for shipment in the cargo hold. It melted and leaked all over my wife’s bag. Alaska made a good faith effort to clean the bag with no success. Without any argument, Alaska did the right thing and replaced the bag with a similar bag of the same or better quality. Alaska ranks at the top of the service scale in… Read more »
jboekhoud
Member
This story isn’t mine. It happened to my dear departed mother a few years ago. I was on a temporary work assignment in Halifax at the time. Since her brother also lived in Halifax, my mother decided to come out and visit him for the last week of my placement and then come home with me. As she was an end-stage diabetic and double-amputee, it was a kind of a big hassle for her to travel, but it turned out to be the last time she saw him so we were glad she made it. At that time, Air Canada… Read more »
pamela.mcfaddin
Member
I don?t have a picture of my favorite (for a short time) garment bag, but in 1977 I flew to LAX YUL with a brand new beautiful tan with brown leather trim garment bag. Gate agent required I check the bag and they did not have any boxes to contain the garment bag. Arrived in YUL and was waiting at the carousel for my bag and watching everyone else picking up their bags, as they dwindled to a dozen bags I was concerned it had been lost. At one point I picked up one bag but it was torn, dirty,… Read more »
Vince
Guest
Went on an intl trip, got there fine. Bags were a-okay. On the return trip @ LAX i went to luggage claim and was waiting for my bag. Around and around the bags went & I still couldn’t find my bag. When a lot of people already got their bags and left I decided to take a look @ the the bags that have been bagged in a giant plastic “trash bag” like bag. Yup one of mine was in there … apparently in transit zipper broke, stuff sorta spilled out & the airline just threw everything inside and zip-tied… Read more »
CP
Guest
Not really a damaged bag story, but baggage-related: Last week, I was on the last departure on DL from DTW-DCA, which is on a CRJ700. After an hours-long delay, we finally boarded, dutifully putting our “valet” bags on the cart. We sat in the plane for about 20 minutes, with the cited reason for the further delay being the need to complete a “final bag count.” We got to DCA (well into the morning hours), dutifully waited on the jet bridge for our valet bags, and were soon told that, oops, DL had loaded NONE of the bags–they were sitting… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member

that’s ridiculous! How did the flight crew not know? Presumably for Weight and Balance they would need a bag count. So either, they improperly did w&b and put everyone’s safety in jeopardy, or they saw the 0 count and didn’t think there was anything wrong with that (at which point you have to question how safe it is to fly with such little common sense)

christophe.bottega
Member

I’m pretty sure that 20-25 carry-ons (probably less than 10 kg a piece) would not change a single thing in the weight & balance of a CRJ700 !!!

christophe.bottega
Member

Pretty sure that 20-25 carry-ons (at probably less than 10kg a piece) would not change a single thing in the weight and balance of a CRJ700 !!!

BW
Guest

I know gate checks are often missed in the slide next to the jetway stairs. Never heard of entire carts of gate valets being missed, but it’s not surprising. I have had personal experience with several places that ignore the valet tags and send them to the carousel instead.

CP
Guest

Exactly what I wondered! Final bag count and no bags loaded or final bag count of zero–both a problem!

Tom F.
Guest
It was a few years ago, but my wife and I were travelling from Tallahassee, Fl to Athens, Greece so I could make a presentation at a conference. Since it was a major event, with lots of socializing, I bought a new tux, along with a new suit, so I would look good. The conference went well, my presentations we well received, and we had a great time. We flew out of Athens on Delta, connected in Frankfurt, and arrived in Atlanta to clear customs before the final leg on to TLH. At that point, everything was good. An hour… Read more »
Derek Pugh
Member

Do you have pictures of this….this sounds like a winner!

Andrew
Guest

I just read all of these stories, and this was the best one, hands down. I’ve been laughing for 10 straight minutes picturing your bag catching fire while being dragged behind the trailer across the airport. Cranky, give this man a new suitcase!

BW
Guest
Here’s 2 baggage related screwups: In the early 90’s I flew SEA LGB to visit family. First leg was SEA PDX on Horizon, then PDX LGB on AS (the flight originated at SEA!). Not the best booking. I had checked a large gray soft sided suitcase that I had gotten for graduation. At LGB my bag came out with a giant hole in the side, like it had been shot with a 12 pound cannonball. Most of my clothes had fallen out and were strewn about around it on the carousel. AS replaced the bag after I got home (I… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

Seems since now a days so many people have cell phones with a build in camera that if you check your bag you should take some quick photos of it including the surrounding area so it can be seen you are at the airport and about to pass off your bag to an airline employee. Could help when they say something is not their fault or wear and tear.

Bet of more people started doing thats airlines would start putting up signs saying to photography so you can not prove they damaged your nice looking bag

jboekhoud
Member

That’s actually a really good idea. I’m going to start do that (taking photos of my bag, not putting up signs).

francesco.favazza
Member
This happened to my family in the mid 70’s in Europe. We lived in Switzerland, but would spend our summer vacations back in Italy. At that time, Europe wasn’t as “globalized as it is now, and in Switzerland it was hard to find good Italian staples, let alone fresh seafood, which my father loved. So, coming back from vacation, my parents had packed a box with fresh fish packed in ice, fresh figs, peaches, etc… We checked-in all our bags and the box at PMO for our flight to FCO then ZRH. When we got to ZRH all our luggage… Read more »
Steve S.
Guest
In the early 1980s I was working for the federal courts in SF as a docket clerk and courtroom staffer. part of the job involved travel to cities on the west coast where the court was holding oral arguments. One time I was scheduled to spend a week working sessions in Los Angeles. Instead of flying directly to LA from SF I decided to spend the weekend in Reno with a woman I was pursuing. My flight to LA was late Sunday night and court started bright and early Monday morning. We boarded the Western Airlines flight and before take-off… Read more »
Linda Adams
Guest
This one happened 22 years ago — Desert Storm. My unit was notified that we were deploying to Saudi Arabia for the first Persian Gulf War. Since the military was pretty unprepared for such a massive deployment, commercial airlines were used to transport us. I think they used a 747 jumbo jet. Each soldier had two duffel bags and one foot locker that was airline baggage. The duffel bags were packed onto pallets. I also had an office, which we packed onto a pallet. It included some supplies, handyman tools, a fishing pole (my squad leader wanted to fish in… Read more »
paul
Guest

Short story: PHXRNO on WN years ago for Tahoe ski trip. Checked my skis in a soft bag. When I picked up my skis in the ski pickup area in RNO the bag had vanished, only skis and poles remained taped together with some duct tape. I never got an explanation to what happened, on guy said the bag was ruined, another guy said it showed up in RNO with no bag.

olympicpro
Member

I would like to post a “bag story” and attach pictures. Is there a way I can attach pictures to this comment page or another posting site?

chipstah13
Member
The TSA trashed a North Face duffle bag that I had checked in on United ( in first class!) from Sydney Australa to Ottawa via LA and Chicago. I had various kinds of chocolates packed into a cardboard box and place inside the duffle. Not only did they destroy the TSA approved samsonite locks but they cut the zippers in such a way that they could never take locks again. They also didn’t put all the chocolate back into the plastic bag and box as originally packed… Needless to say there was crushed candy everywhere not to mention things that… Read more »
MeanMeosh
Guest
This isn’t exactly an airline baggage story, but still travel related so thought I’d post. Several years ago, my family took a cruise from FLL to the Panama Canal and back. My brother bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker at a duty free shop in Costa Rica to give to a friend, and packed it in one of his suitcases. Those of you who have cruised know that the cruise lines ask you to put your bags outside your stateroom the night before, then you reclaim them the next morning at the port’s baggage claim. When I picked up my… Read more »
malbarda
Member
This is not so much a story of damaged luggage as it is of it disappearing, twice on one trip AND getting damaged! In 2009 I was traveling from Atlanta to Valencia, Spain to attend a conference where I was speaking. I flew ATL – Paris – Valencia and back and was in Valencia only for 3 days. The trip was booked on a combination of Delta, Air France and Air Europa (now defunct). The flight to Paris was quiet and uneventful but due to a delayed departure my connection time in Paris was less than an hour. When I… Read more »
Jc whatheheck
Guest
Here’s my tale. In the late 70’s was flying SFO-JFK-POS(Trinidad) via United and the BWIA. I checked two bags, a regular suitcase and a metal toolbox for the work I was scheduled to do in Trinidad. BWIA was on a L1011 with about 60 people on it. Great flight and plenty of Caribbean hospitality. Problem is…my tool box never arrived to POS. I filed a claim with BWIA and waited for them to look for the tool box. After two days they still had no idea where it was. They started blaming United. I called United in the US (tough… Read more »
cahilldot
Member

2011us airways barcelona to philly go to customs and immigration turn in brand new bag(1st trip out of the country it was pristine) to go to jax,fl on arrival in florida it was trashed and 2 wheels of 4 were missing was told not responsible for missing wheels and refused to give me forms to fill out… i persisted they gave me the forms –i took pics at the conveyor belt and sent in and got $60 for a new bag to replace my new bag./. ..

Dave
Guest

I already have a Briggs & Riley bag with well over a million air miles on it and it is still going strong. It is one great bag.

Urih85
Member
So I was flying Delta from Boston to Baltimore. I had a connection at JFK. I arrived to BWI but my luggage didn’t. I must say that Delta sent my suitcase the day after with the courier. The problem is that when I received it in a nylon bag and it was literally open. My suitcase apparently opened for all of JFK and Baltimore Delta employees to see. It was horrible, I mean you could see the underwear, pants, shirts, you name it. I wish I have took a picture of my suitcase. So the courier drops off the suitcase,… Read more »
wasawyerjr
Member
My worst bag damage story – travelling AA DFW to Rochester, NY – my small (24″) hardsided bag was checked. It came out the belt empty except one forlorn sweatshirt trailing the two halves of unattached plastic. They were no longer connected, just torn apart and one corner smashed in. Shortly a plastic bag came out with most of the rest of my clothes. That bag (a replacement LAN Chile gave me for a different destroyed bag) scuffed, deformed and no longer in one piece was optimistically declared “fixable” by customer service. Well it arrived back from repair in one… Read more »
rbaer3
Member
A few years ago I traveled with family to Moscow, Russia on Delta Airlines. We were headed for a River Cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It was necessary for us to book a flight on a local carrier to St. Petersburg to begin the Cruise. This was after the airline industry in Russia was sub-divided into smaller regional airlines with the breakup of AeroFlot. The company suggested by Delta was Pulkovo Aviation. We landed at a secondary airport in St. Petersburg. Apparently, this was the only airline that used this airport. When my bag arrived for pickup, it was… Read more »
Skye
Guest
In college, I flew to Hawaii to spend New Year’s Eve with my parents. I had packed a few fun things, notably an amazing pair of heels and a fancy dress to wear out on NYE. It was all in a full size roller suitcase, brand of which I no longer remember, but was not Briggs and Riley (which I now have and love). I hopped off the plane, thrilled to be in Hawaii and met my family. I stood around the baggage claim for a long while, chatting with my parents. Every so often, I’d see a large plastic… Read more »
Ari K
Guest

A few years ago, the airport limousine bus on my way to NRT put a hole in my ski clothes/boot bag while enroute to a short ski trip…when I pointed out the rip, they offered me ¥3000 and repaired the hole with some very sturdy tape. Not sure if it was an even trade, but I had to catch a flight.

Alex
Guest
I was traveling a few years back to HNL from LAX with a regular checked bag and a double surfboard bag with two boards inside. I took pride in the packing of the surfboards; I removed the fins and bubble rapped each board. I strapped each board securely inside using the inside straps, placed extra padding/towels etc on the sides. These things were snug. Let me just say this wasn’t my first rodeo traveling with surfboards. Two shortboards in a stuffed bag probably weighs less than 35lbs, AKA not heavy for baggage guy to lift. I was in the back… Read more »
kelty
Member
I vote for Sheila’s story with the bra waving. In the prehistoric era, we flew to Spain on TWA. Our kid was in diapers, and his bag did not arrive. We had to get clothes and nappies in Spain. Somewhere in the middle of the trip we received notice from TWA that our bag had been found in Annapolis. The capitol of Maryland is not an international airport. Presumably they meant Indianapolis. Anyhow, the bag arrived the day we were leaving Spain. Our teen age daughter was on a scientific diving trip to Turks and Caicos. Upon return to DCA… Read more »
John
Guest

The frame of my Tumi was snapped in half like a toothpick. I can only imagine the amount of force that AA had to apply to the frame. The CSR said…that’s a first for me in 17 years.

B-Rad
Guest
In the spirit of winning a carry-on, I think my story of a damaged carry-on is fitting. Especially because one of the reasons a person carries on luggage instead of checking it is to protect it and keep it close. Well, on my return flight from Venice back to the USA, I was transporting several pieces of expensive (and carefully-wrapped!) Murano glass in my backpack, which I kept under the seat in front of me. Keep in mind I had faithfully transported the glass, which was purchased as gifts for family, across Italy for two weeks prior. Now, when our… Read more »
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