United Airlines Will Not Let You Report Your Damaged Baggage For "Security Reasons"

Reader Sid is having a hell of a time reporting some damaged luggage to United Airlines.

He writes:

On a recent flight, on United Airlines, I had my suitcase damaged. When I reported it to the United baggage office in Portland, OR, they apologized for not having the proper form on which to report the problem and suggested that I contact the United baggage office at one of the airports in my home city, Washington, DC. Upon returning home, I attempted to contact United’s baggage department by phone. The “800” number was of no help, nor was the “Customer Service” call center in India. When I called the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority in an attempt to obtain the telephone number for one of the United baggage offices, I was told that United had instructed them not to release the number FOR SECURITY REASONS!

I have written to the VP of Customer Affairs at United to congratulate him on following the example of the now defunct Soviet Union which had no telephone books for security reasons.


We checked United’s policy on damaged luggage and it seems that the first baggage office screwed you with bad advice. From United’s website:

Please report any damage to your baggage immediately after retrieving your baggage from the baggage claim carousels. A customer service representative at our Baggage Service Offices will be happy to complete a damage report for you. Please have your passenger ticket receipt and claim check available when filing your claim. All baggage claims must be reported within 24 hours of travel.

You’ve already launched an EECB of sorts, so all we can really suggest is that you also file a complaint with the Department of Transportation and CC: it to Graham Atkinson at United.

Filing official complaints with the government will sometimes reduce the time it takes for an airline to get around to dealing with your complaint. You might also try filing your complaint in person, again, but we could understand why you might not want to trek out to the airport with your luggage.

(Photo: Ben Popken )