This airline is the most likely to damage your bags

A new study has revealed which carriers received the most complaints for mishandling luggage

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
Damaged luggage
Photograph: Shutterstock

We’ve all been there. You spot your belongings on the baggage reclaim carousel and find your suitcases mangled and frayed. It looks a bit like they’ve been thrown out of the plane from several thousand feet up. Only they haven’t – they’ve just been treated exceptionally poorly by your airline.

But which airline is the worst for damaging bags? Well, to find out luggage company Trifibre commissioned some research. Following a freedom of information request to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the firm has revealed which airlines receive the most complaints, and how many of those claims are successful.

And so, according to the CAA, the worst airline for damaging your luggage is… Ryanair! Which, to many, probably isn’t that much of a surprise. Of the 823 claims for damaged luggage submitted between 2015 and 2020, Ryanair received a whopping 108. That’s more than one in every ten complaints, just to Ryanair.

Emirates came in distant second place with 47 claims in the same period, while Alitalia came in third with 40 claims.

Depressingly, however, if your bags are mishandled, you’ve not got a great chance of successfully claiming compensation. Just under half (46 percent) of all claims were upheld in favour of the passenger. While only 12 percent ruled in favour of the airline, huge numbers of claims (41 percent, to be exact) were totally ignored by the airline or airport. Pretty shitty, eh?

Not only does Ryanair receive a lot of damaged baggage complaints, there also appears to be rather a lot of legitimacy to Ryanair customers’ claims. According to the CAA, Ryanair also had the most claims upheld in favour of the passenger.

Airlines are responsible for your bag from once it’s been checked in to when you receive it at your destination. So what can you do to make sure you claim successfully if they do get damaged? Well, be sure to get travel insurance. Also check your bags before you leave the airport, photograph any damage and then claim immediately.

You can read Trifibre’s full study here.

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