Rising Bag Fees Don’t Guarantee Luggage Safety

By Joe Gomez | KRLD
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(Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (KRLD) — It’s costing more and more to check your bag at the airport, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it back in one piece.

“It felt like somebody beat up my bag.”

R.J. Machorro paid $25.00 to check a bag when he recently flew United Airlines into DFW Airport and when he went to the baggage carousel to claim it — what he found was not the bag he checked in. “I noticed that my wheels were damaged and the handle was damaged.”

Since the handle and a wheel were snapped off R.J. – who’s disabled – had to carry his 50 pound bag.

“After flying I was really tired and I had to use my bad shoulder to lift the suitcase since I couldn’t roll it.”

United has a baggage policy that claims no liability for damaged wheels or handles on checked luggage… luggage that Aviation Expert Glenn Winn, who has worked as a baggage handler, says can go through some tough treatment.

“There’s a lot of handling, a lot of movement and in some cases crunching that goes on with the bags and that’s the only way to describe it,” says Winn. “Very soft sided bags of course can be ripped open and you have also hard sided bags that because of the hinges on the bags, the bags pop open.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation there were nearly 224,000 reports of damaged or mishandled bags last December, though 99 percent of checked bags go unscathed overall. A spokesman for United tells KRLD that, even though they aren’t responsible for damaged luggage in this case, they will fix R.J.’s bag.

“I hope they can gain my trust again in the way that your luggage gets treated at the airport,” says R.J.

It’s recommended that, if you’re in that unlucky one percent and see that your bag is damaged when you land, you seek out an airline representative as soon as you can.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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