Baggage Venting

Old Jun 12, 15, 11:20 am
  #1  
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Baggage Venting

Hi all, long time since I've posted.

Just flew back from PDX via ATL to TPA yesterday. One check bag made it, one was routed through LAX and arrived this morning, to be delivered by carrier.

Brand new Samsonite top of the line Firelite, arrived thrashed with a missing wheel. Why a new bag? Because last month Delta ripped my hard shell Antler to shreds, ripped off handles and gouged the plastic.

Last October, some of you may remember a delayed bag to LGA ended up with thousands of dollars worth of clothing stolen by the courier.

It's not even the money for the bags...they are warranted, insured, etc. It's all the lost time...this is hours and hours of paperwork.

Come on Delta. This is not that tough. Deliver Priority marked bags on-time with minimal abuse...

-=tg=-
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Old Jun 12, 15, 11:49 am
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I avoid any bag where the wheels stick out that far. I think the handlers try to pop them off for sport.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by motytrah View Post
I avoid any bag where the wheels stick out that far. I think the handlers try to pop them off for sport.
As do I. But I don't think that makes OP's expectations unreasonable.

I get it, baggage handlers don't have it easy. Tight schedules, working in all weather conditions, potential for injury in bags that are heavier than they look, etc. But a modicum of care is to be expected, let alone the deliberate abuse or vandalism of bags.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 3:12 pm
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I once checked a clear plastic umbrella that cost $5 on Delta Shuttle. It arrived undamaged.


Anyway, there two ways to improve your success rates.

1) Check a cap gun/starter pistol inside a giant hard plastic case with multiple slide-locking latches. Provide your own high-quality locks (not 3-seconds to pick Master). This approach makes it too difficult for most to steal, and since it's a "gun", it will raise suspicion if it goes missing.

2) Don't check a $500+ bag that likely holds $1000+ in items. $500 is better lets toss this sucker and see how it survives! Check a no-name junker over and over until it splits at the seams and replace it. Don't lock it, don't bother with the paperwork. In fact don't lock your $500 bag either, a bic pen can open it and there's probably thousands of "TSA keys" that go missing anyway.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by paul21 View Post
1) Check a cap gun/starter pistol inside a giant hard plastic case with multiple slide-locking latches. Provide your own high-quality locks (not 3-seconds to pick Master). This approach makes it too difficult for most to steal, and since it's a "gun", it will raise suspicion if it goes missing.
That gun thing really happens. There was a reddit thread on checking a starter pistol. Apparently when you declare a firearm you go to a special TSA station for inspection and then you can use a giant padlock to keep the case secure. Supposedly, inspected fire arms cannot be opened again and are kept track of very well.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 4:21 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by paul21 View Post

2) Don't check a $500+ bag that likely holds $1000+ in items. $500 is better lets toss this sucker and see how it survives! Check a no-name junker over and over until it splits at the seams and replace it. Don't lock it, don't bother with the paperwork. In fact don't lock your $500 bag either, a bic pen can open it and there's probably thousands of "TSA keys" that go missing anyway.
While I have no doubt that all of this is good advice, it's still kind of sad isn't it? I think, on balance, airlines do an admirable job of getting bags from A to B, and often from A to C with a 45 minute stop at B along the way (seriously, at ATL, how do they get a bag off a plane at A1 and have it on a plane at E10 40 minutes later). Airlines do not do near as good a job of recognizing that bags are filled with important things (like expensive clothing and fresh underwear), and that the bags themselves are often quite expensive.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 4:35 pm
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Last month my son and I flew Delta (F) SMF-LAX, connecting to Delta (F) LAX-LAS then Virgin Atlantic (Upper Class) LAS-MAN.

Two PNRs: SMF-LAX then LAX-LAS-MAN

The Delta check-in agent assured me he could route our bags all the way to Manchester England with no intervention. So they were tagged accordingly. However he could only issue boarding passes for the Delta segments even though VS is a Delta code-share partner.

We had a five hour layover in LAX and a three hour layover in LAS. Plenty of time for transfer bags.

Well no. Didn't happen. Got to Manchester and no joy at the baggage carousel. Went to the Virgin Atlantic baggage office to file a report. I figured they'd eventually show up and we were staying overnight at the Manchester Airport Hilton anyway. However I was concerened as Virgin only flies a couple of times a week between LAS and MAN - how would our bags make it to Manchester?

Not to worry. The folks at the Virgin Atlantic baggage office were able to immediately track the whereabouts of our two bags. Apparently Delta didn't make the transfer in Los Angeles. Even with a lengthy layover. In retrospect I suspect it was because we were on separate PNRs. However another passenger who lives in Manchester was in the office with us and he said this was the third time in as many months his bags have failed to transfer by Delta in Los Angeles to the LAX-LAS-MAN connection.

The good news from Virgin was that our suitcases were already en route on an Air France flight LAX-CDG which would arrive Paris later that afternoon then Air France would put them on their evening CDG-MAN flight. We were assured they'd be delivered to our hotel that very same evening.

I filled out some lost luggage forms, UK customs declaration forms (so our bags could clear customs without us) and picked up some nifty "overnight" kits.

Sure enough our suitcases arrived at our hotel about 45 minutes after the Air France flight from Paris landed in Manchester.
El Cochinito is offline  
Old Jun 12, 15, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by paul21 View Post
I once checked a clear plastic umbrella that cost $5 on Delta Shuttle. It arrived undamaged.


Anyway, there two ways to improve your success rates.

1) ...

2) Don't check a $500+ bag that likely holds $1000+ in items. $500 is better lets toss this sucker and see how it survives! Check a no-name junker over and over until it splits at the seams and replace it. Don't lock it, don't bother with the paperwork. In fact don't lock your $500 bag either, a bic pen can open it and there's probably thousands of "TSA keys" that go missing anyway.
I've read this three times and still can't understand what it says.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 5:57 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by tgtg View Post
Hi all, long time since I've posted.

Just flew back from PDX via ATL to TPA yesterday. One check bag made it, one was routed through LAX and arrived this morning, to be delivered by carrier.

Brand new Samsonite top of the line Firelite, arrived thrashed with a missing wheel. Why a new bag? Because last month Delta ripped my hard shell Antler to shreds, ripped off handles and gouged the plastic.

Last October, some of you may remember a delayed bag to LGA ended up with thousands of dollars worth of clothing stolen by the courier.

It's not even the money for the bags...they are warranted, insured, etc. It's all the lost time...this is hours and hours of paperwork.

Come on Delta. This is not that tough. Deliver Priority marked bags on-time with minimal abuse...

-=tg=-
As you no doubt know, airlines by and large aren't responsible for "wear and tear" (whatever that means). That being said, I had WN break the wheel housing off a bag recently. I went to the baggage office and nicely complained. They offered me a $50 voucher. I countered for $100 and they gave it to me. Sometimes if you're nice, they're nice. YMMV.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 7:18 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Allan38103 View Post
I've read this three times and still can't understand what it says.
The gist is this: Don't spend any money on a suitcase, assume things will get ruined and/or stolen; it's hopeless.
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houserulz77 is offline  
Old Jun 13, 15, 7:16 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by El Cochinito View Post
Last month my son and I flew Delta (F) SMF-LAX, connecting to Delta (F) LAX-LAS then Virgin Atlantic (Upper Class) LAS-MAN.

Two PNRs: SMF-LAX then LAX-LAS-MAN

The Delta check-in agent assured me he could route our bags all the way to Manchester England with no intervention. So they were tagged accordingly. However he could only issue boarding passes for the Delta segments even though VS is a Delta code-share partner.

We had a five hour layover in LAX and a three hour layover in LAS. Plenty of time for transfer bags.

Well no. Didn't happen. Got to Manchester and no joy at the baggage carousel. Went to the Virgin Atlantic baggage office to file a report. I figured they'd eventually show up and we were staying overnight at the Manchester Airport Hilton anyway. However I was concerened as Virgin only flies a couple of times a week between LAS and MAN - how would our bags make it to Manchester?

Not to worry. The folks at the Virgin Atlantic baggage office were able to immediately track the whereabouts of our two bags. Apparently Delta didn't make the transfer in Los Angeles. Even with a lengthy layover. In retrospect I suspect it was because we were on separate PNRs. However another passenger who lives in Manchester was in the office with us and he said this was the third time in as many months his bags have failed to transfer by Delta in Los Angeles to the LAX-LAS-MAN connection.

The good news from Virgin was that our suitcases were already en route on an Air France flight LAX-CDG which would arrive Paris later that afternoon then Air France would put them on their evening CDG-MAN flight. We were assured they'd be delivered to our hotel that very same evening.

I filled out some lost luggage forms, UK customs declaration forms (so our bags could clear customs without us) and picked up some nifty "overnight" kits.

Sure enough our suitcases arrived at our hotel about 45 minutes after the Air France flight from Paris landed in Manchester.
I think a long layover is just as bad, if not worse, than a short layover for bags not making the next flight. Maybe the bags get "set aside" and forgotten?

Also, nice service recovery.
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Old Jun 13, 15, 9:03 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by paul21 View Post
2) Don't check a $500+ bag that likely holds $1000+ in items. $500 is better lets toss this sucker and see how it survives! Check a no-name junker over and over until it splits at the seams and replace it. Don't lock it, don't bother with the paperwork. In fact don't lock your $500 bag either, a bic pen can open it and there's probably thousands of "TSA keys" that go missing anyway.
I lock my checked bags with either a cheap TSA lock that came with the bag or a zip tie. Not because it'll stop a mildly determined person from opening it, but because I have seen unlocked bags get their zipper pull caught while traveling down a conveyor belt, only to unzip and dump their contents everywhere.

That said, I check my bags quite often and have never had a problem. Haven't even been able to claim the 20-minute rule yet!
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Old Jun 15, 15, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by motytrah View Post
That gun thing really happens. There was a reddit thread on checking a starter pistol. Apparently when you declare a firearm you go to a special TSA station for inspection and then you can use a giant padlock to keep the case secure. Supposedly, inspected fire arms cannot be opened again and are kept track of very well.
Declared firearms in suitcases use the same bag sortation systems as regular bags. Firearm cases share the same systems with oversize items like skis and golf bags.
There is only 1 small indication that a domestic bag might contain a firearm, and a baggage handler would have to specifically look for it on the bag tag since it's normally out of view. "CAGPT" is naturally hidden around the handle because of how the bag tag is applied and where it's printed.
International firearms are much more heavily marked and secured.
Locks are the responsibility of the passenger, so how secure the lock is depends on the passenger.
Widgets is offline  
Old Nov 7, 18, 7:50 pm
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​​​​​​​Flying with firearms on Delta

Originally Posted by Widgets View Post
Declared firearms in suitcases use the same bag sortation systems as regular bags. Firearm cases share the same systems with oversize items like skis and golf bags.
There is only 1 small indication that a domestic bag might contain a firearm, and a baggage handler would have to specifically look for it on the bag tag since it's normally out of view. "CAGPT" is naturally hidden around the handle because of how the bag tag is applied and where it's printed.
International firearms are much more heavily marked and secured.
Locks are the responsibility of the passenger, so how secure the lock is depends on the passenger.
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I would update it, as the situation with firearms on Delta has changed.
Sometime after the shooting incident at the Ft. Lauderdale airport in January 2017 (while still at baggage claim, a passenger retrieved a gun that had been checked in a bag, and started shooting people), Delta revised their procedure on handling firearms in checked bags. The check-in procedure is still more or less the same, although I've noticed that the ticket counter agents are vocal about not showing them that the firearm is unloaded. Previously, about half of them wanted me to take the gun out of the gun safe/case and show them the empty chamber. Now, they just want to see the gun safe, and they take my word for whatever is inside it.
The ticket agent gives me the orange "FIREARMS UNLOADED" tag to sign, and I place it inside the suitcase, on top of the gun safe. So far, this is more or less how they have done things in the past.

Now, comes the departure from things past. In addition to the regular baggage claim tag, the ticket agent applies a special "CAGPT" (I'm told this means "Check and Give Protection To") tag to the bag, and the ticket agent tells me that I will have to claim the bag at the baggage office. It will not be placed on the baggage carousel. The CAGPT tag is not hidden. It is obvious, and to me fairly cries out, "Steal this bag, because there's a gun in it."
The suitcase I use is an aluminum Zero Halliburton ZRoller, which is costly, but the only bag that Delta has not managed to destroy within a year of first use. It's as pilfer-proof as suitcases go. That sets the bar pretty low, but it beats a nylon suitcase with a zipper than can be defeated with a ballpoint pen.
When I arrive at my destination, I find another insult. Delta, apparently trying to avoid another Ft. Lauderdale-type incident, wraps the suitcase with a large zip tie, so that it can't be opened without first cutting off the zip tie. This wouldn't bother me all that much, as I carry a pocketknife, but my pocketknife (forbidden in the passenger cabin by TSA) is locked inside the suitcase. The baggage agent suggested that I request assistance in cutting off the zip tie by the staff at my hotel.
I don't think so. Right outside the Delta baggage office at LAS is a Las Vegas Metro Police podium, usually staffed by a uniformed officer. I showed the officer my retired police ID, explained my dilemma, and he loaned me his Buck knife to remove the zip tie.
The next trip I took was to LAX. There, I learned some addition detail of Delta's handling policy. When I arrived at the baggage office, my suitcase hadn't quite made it there. While I was standing there, the baggage handler arrived with the suitcase, with no zip tie. He applied the zip tie (over my objection) in my presence. If Delta was concerned for the possible theft of the firearm, they would apply the zip tie at the embarkation point. But, no, they seek only to use this contrivance to make themselves appear proactive and inconvenience their customers. They were displeased when I produced my newly-purchased Style PS Leatherman tool (like most other multi-tools, but with no knife blade, thus TSA-legal) and cut off their zip tie. I dropped it on the baggage agent's desk and bid her a good day. By the way, my bag had been there for a while, and was standing with another dozen unclaimed bags, no more closely watched than another. In the past, before the zip tie days, I have found my gun-containing luggage standing outside the baggage office, where anyone could have come along and wheeled it away without showing any connection to it.
By the way, should you wish to duplicate my Leatherman PS tool tactic, remove the tool from your carry-on or pocket when you go through the TSA checkpoint, and drop it in the bucket for inspection. They'll let it through, but if they see it on the x-ray in your carry-on, they'll knock themselves out looking for it.
The next time I went through LAS, when I cut the zip tie off the bag in the baggage office, the baggage agent about lost her stuff. "You can't do that! You have to leave the airport before you can remove that zip tie!" I asked what law I was violating in so doing, and invited her to consult with the Metro cop outside her office.
I wouldn't do it because of the furor it would create, but in fact if I wanted to remove my firearm from the suitcase, load it, and put it in my holster while still at baggage claim, I would break no laws in so doing. Firearms are prohibited inside the "sterile" are of the airport, past the security checkpoints. In the perimeter areas, the same firearms laws that apply everywhere else are operative.
Incidentally, at the small airport (PSC) near my home, when I claim my suitcase, the baggage handler brings it into the carousel area after he has loaded the other bags onto the carousel, asks me for my ID, and gives me the bag. No zip tie, no third degree.
I can appreciate Delta's desire to avoid another Ft. Lauderdale incident, but, as with other airport security efforts, they are focusing on things, not people. El Al, despite being the national airline of one of the most besieged nations in the world, has an enviable security record. This is because they train and employ security agents who watch people, not things. If you are about to get onto one of their airplanes and are acting suspiciously, they will pull you out for a chat. If Delta wants to have one of their security people ask me why I am flying with a firearm, I'm happy to discuss it with them. I'll show them my retired police credentials and ask them to check my record that shows the last enforcement effort on my behalf was a speeding ticket in 1974 (which I paid).
So, for the record, I object to Delta first identifying my baggage as containing a firearm and making it an easier target. The CAGPT tag may suggest they give special protection to my bag, but there is not much evidence that they actually do. I further object to Delta limiting my access to my property by placing their zip tie around my bag.
I've let Delta know about this, but got not even an acknowledgement.
copwriter is offline  
Old Nov 7, 18, 8:58 pm
  #15  
 
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Great trip report! Very thorough and a good read.

FWIW, the zip tie is applied upon arrival to try to discourage the bag from being opened at baggage claim. Pilfering isnít really a motivation since the container is already required to be locked with a key.

Honestly, I donít think anyone should care why youíre checking a bag, or what your previous police officer status is. None of thatís relevant to the process. Airlines donít really care whether the gun is stolen, or if youíre an active duty police officer. If they did, theyíd require paperwork for firearms or LEO credentials. That being said, the baggage agents shouldnít be freaking out when you open your case at baggage claim. If you arenít breaking any laws, it doesnít matter if youíre a retired cop or Joe the plumber.
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Last edited by Widgets; Nov 7, 18 at 9:05 pm
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