Unpacked: Delicate Luggage


Welcome to Unpacked, where we demystify hot topics in the airline industry! Check it: This time we’re talking about the delicate topic of checking fragile items.

It’s spring break travel time again and the topic of baggage is a hot one. Last year we shared an Unpacked column that talked about the path of a checked bag, and this year we’re addressing the dos and don’ts for traveling with your most treasured possessions.

We take great care when handling your checked bags. The truth is that sometimes the path that your bag travels on can be bumpy. Remember that bags ride on a series of belts and tracks and are then loaded into the belly of the plane with all the other bags. All bags are also subject to inspection by the TSA and they work quickly in order to get your bags on the plane for an on-time departure, so if you’ve got something fragile that was well-packed, well, it may not be replaced in the same way you originally placed it

Some things just aren’t meant for checked baggage, like your kids, your hamster, or your favorite porcelain doll.

If you’re bringing a special souvenir made of glass or your favorite bottle of perfume, camera lenses or other delicate items, we recommend packing them with care and bringing them onboard in your carry-on baggage, so you can keep them close by during your journey. Remember, carry-on items must meet certain requirements and be able to fit in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you.

Some items, although fragile, may not fit in the overhead bin. Things like strollers and musical instruments often need to be checked at the gate and travel with the other checked bags in the baggage compartment. Remember that the baggage compartment is an open space full of baggage of all shapes and sizes and things can jostle around during the trip. If you’re bringing a stroller, we recommend traveling with one that doesn’t have a lot of extra parts or one that’s easily collapsible. Musical instruments should be packed in hard-sided cases. Keep in mind that instruments that are longer than 45” will need to be checked at the gate.

All airlines have a Contract of Carriage, which is a legal contract all our customers enter into after they’ve purchased a flight. There are some items we caution against checking in your baggage because of their fragile nature and because we can’t accept liability for them.

See below for the list:

We like to think of your luggage as if it were our own, and treat it with the respect it deserves, but sometimes life happens (or bumpy ramps or a bumpy flight), and in those instances we’ll work on an individual basis per our Contract of Carriage to assist. A successful trip and baggage experience sometimes requires careful planning.

Check out our previous editions of Unpacked and stay tuned for the next up!