Packing Valuable Items In Your Luggage? Check Your Bags Before You Leave The Airport

If you’ve got to take something valuable — especially something fragile and valuable — on a plane, it’s best to try to carry it on. And as Consumerist reader Cathy learned, if you must check those items, be sure to look at your bags before you leave the baggage claim area, just in case that item has gotten damaged or disappeared.

Cathy tells Consumerist that her parents recently flew into town on Delta to deal with some issues regarding her late grandmother’s estate. When her parents headed back on Delta, they had packed some valuable items in their carry-on bags.

Unfortunately, as happens when planes are too full, Cathy’s parents were forced to check their carry-ons and hope that the valuables made it home intact.

You can probably guess that didn’t happen.

“One of the nicer items shattered during the flight,” writes Cathy. “They opened the bags when they got home and were quite upset. They immediately called Delta and were told to file a claim, with no mention of the fact that ‘it needed to be done at the airport.’”

While the Delta CSR might not have mentioned this fact, it does say on the Delta website, “[I]f you feel your baggage was damaged during a flight bring it to the Delta Air Lines airport baggage office immediately after the arrival of your flight. All damages should be reviewed and evaluated by the baggage service office personnel.”

Not sure of where else to turn, Cathy Tweeted @DeltaAssist where she was once again referred to the policy on Delta.com. When Cathy asked if we should check bags before leaving the airport, Delta replied, “Normally I would say no, unless you do have delicate items in the bag. Just in case.”

Delta is providing a mixed message here. On the one hand, the company’s policy is that you must report the damage at the airport. But it also says you shouldn’t check the contents of your bag at the airport unless you are carrying something delicate.

Regardless, let Cathy’s story be a lesson to you that you shouldn’t leave the airport until after you’ve checked that your valuables were not damaged.