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TSA broke into my checked bags and damaged contents

TSA broke into my checked bags and damaged contents

Old May 3, 17, 1:39 pm
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TSA broke into my checked bags and damaged contents

My routing back from Vietnam (to Canada) included connections in Narita (NRT), Japan and Washington DC (IAD), USA. I had checked in two pieces of luggage which contained clothes and some packaged food items.

Upon arrival at IAD, I was expected to pickup my checked bags and drop them off at another belt before proceeding to my connecting flight to Canada (standard process). Except, my bags never arrived! ANA staff on site confirmed that my bags were in IAD but had been taken to a different terminal, accidentally (so they claimed). I waited another 45 minutes for my bags wondering if I would miss my connection, <20 minutes to boarding. Finally, my bags were brought to me by the ANA staff and looked no different than when I saw them last, in NRT. In rush to make my flight, I loaded them on a trolley and brought it to the baggage drop-off area. A little damp from the running but I made the flight – thank you Nexus!

Once home, I realized that the locks on my bags were missing. ‘TSA baggage check’ immediately crossed my mind. I unzipped my first bag and found it exactly as below;



The luggage straps were undone, contents of the bag were all over the place and deep red stains across my clothes and bag.



TSA officers had not only opened my bags to inspect the contents, they had done it recklessly. A bottle of chilli paste was removed from it packaging (wrapped in cloth + ziplock bag) but thrown back in the bag without it. My best guess is that the bottle hit one of the sides and cracked in the bag during transit. My clothes took the full brunt of the chilli paste and the glass shards from the bottle.

Now I know the real reason for my baggage delay in IAD, the TSA was doing its “due diligence”.

My bags were also physically screened at NRT, the diff in exp was night and day! Read comparison here - http://travelupdate.boardingarea.com...aged-contents/
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Old May 3, 17, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by ibling View Post
Now I know the real reason for my baggage delay in IAD, the TSA was doing its “due diligence”.
Why would the TSA touch your bags before you received them at IAD and took them through customs?
The TSA wouldn't be screening the bag until after you dropped it off at IAD after customs.
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Old May 3, 17, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more View Post
Why would the TSA touch your bags before you received them at IAD and took them through customs?
The TSA wouldn't be screening the bag until after you dropped it off at IAD after customs.
I was in transit at IAD. Coming in from NRT, connecting to YOW.
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Old May 3, 17, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by PilgrimsProgress View Post
OP, I have had the same experience in the past. TSA will break stuff, scoop it into your baggage, and move on. Don't believe there is any recourse but there should be. It is for a good cause though ... national security!!!
Agreed, all for security of passengers but recklessness is no excuse, imo. Recourse - TSA has an official claims process for damaged and lost baggage during screening - https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support/claims
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Old May 3, 17, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by ibling View Post
I was in transit at IAD. Coming in from NRT, connecting to YOW.
You would retrieve your bags and take them through customs at IAD before you dropping them off and have them screened by the TSA before they are put on the flight to YOW.
Again, why would the TSA touch your bags before you received them at IAD and took them through customs? What leads you to believe that it was TSA causing the delay before you received your bags at IAD?

Last edited by UA1K_no_more; May 3, 17 at 3:39 pm
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Old May 3, 17, 3:32 pm
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There's a TSA inspection notice in the picture. It's unclear if it was put in before or after the OP picked up the bag and rechecked it for the domestic flight.

Does TSA operate in some foreign airports to inspect checked bags on flights to the USA?
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Old May 3, 17, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
There's a TSA inspection notice in the picture. It's unclear if it was put in before or after the OP picked up the bag and rechecked it for the domestic flight.

Does TSA operate in some foreign airports to inspect checked bags on flights to the USA?
Not that I know of, and not at NRT, at least.
Which means that the note was added during the luggage screening at IAD. Which makes me wonder why the OP thinks that it was the TSA that caused the delay in luggage delivery at IAD.
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Old May 3, 17, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more View Post
Not that I know of, and not at NRT, at least.
Which means that the note was added during the luggage screening at IAD. Which makes me wonder why the OP thinks that it was the TSA that caused the delay in luggage delivery at IAD.
Maybe the OP believed what airline staff members told him/her?
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Old May 3, 17, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Maybe the OP believed what airline staff members told him/her?
According to the OP, the explanation from the airline staff was that the bag had been taken to a different terminal: "ANA staff on site confirmed that my bags were in IAD but had been taken to a different terminal, accidentally (so they claimed)"

Which can happen if the bags were loaded in a container that went to the main terminal customs location (for passengers terminating at IAD) instead of the mid-terminal customs location (for connecting passengers), or vice versa.

I still don't see why the TSA would have a reason to touch his bag before he received it and cleared customs.
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Old May 3, 17, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more View Post
According to the OP, the explanation from the airline staff was that the bag had been taken to a different terminal: "ANA staff on site confirmed that my bags were in IAD but had been taken to a different terminal, accidentally (so they claimed)"

Which can happen if the bags were loaded in a container that went to the main terminal customs location (for passengers terminating at IAD) instead of the mid-terminal customs location (for connecting passengers), or vice versa.

I still don't see why the TSA would have a reason to touch his bag before he received it and cleared customs.
OP said he had to run to catch his flight after dropping his bags. If the bags also made the flight, that wouldn't leave much time to inspect them post-customs.
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Old May 3, 17, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by princeville View Post
OP said he had to run to catch his flight after dropping his bags. If the bags also made the flight, that wouldn't leave much time to inspect them post-customs.
If the OP received the bags ~20 minutes before boarding started, that would still leave enough time to screen the bag (but not pack it back up properly, apparently) and get it on the flight.

Last edited by UA1K_no_more; May 3, 17 at 3:59 pm
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Old May 3, 17, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more View Post
Not that I know of, and not at NRT, at least.
Which means that the note was added during the luggage screening at IAD. Which makes me wonder why the OP thinks that it was the TSA that caused the delay in luggage delivery at IAD.
I missed this.

Before the new security posture was in place, passengers could retrieve their luggage immediately after deplaning. If they were at their final destination, they would leave the airport with luggage in hand. If they were on a connecting flight they would go through customs and their luggage would be re-screened before getting on their connecting flight. With the new procedures in place, all luggage is being screened before the passenger is reunited with their luggage.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/politi...ban-screening/

This isn't supposed to be happening on a flight from NRT, but depending how the baggage got mis-routed on landing, I can begin to understand why TSA would be rifling arriving baggage.

I've never had anything damaged or stolen by non-US security. I wonder how they manage to find good help - perhaps other countries security services could offer TSA some advice.
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Old May 3, 17, 3:57 pm
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Presuming that OP is being fully truthful, for some reason, OP's bag wound up being run through a scanner somewhere between its arrival at IAD and its delivery to him. It doesn't really matter why it happened. But, clearly the process got screwed up.

OP is free to file a claim with TSA, but will have some explaining to do as to why he had food in his checked luggage. If he did not declare that to CBP, he may want to simply leave this alone.

For what it is worth, there is no such thing as transit and even I-T-I is not in use at IAD.
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Old May 3, 17, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Presuming that OP is being fully truthful, for some reason, OP's bag wound up being run through a scanner somewhere between its arrival at IAD and its delivery to him.
I guess there is a possibility that the misrouting meant that the bags up going through a TSA scan before being delivered to him at IAD, but I still fail to see how the OP can conclude without any doubt that a TSA scan, not the time to it took to transfer the bags to the correct location, was the reason for the luggage delivery delay at IAD:
Now I know the real reason for my baggage delay in IAD, the TSA was doing its “due diligence”.
More likely, the poor packing job happened at the TSA scan after the luggage was dropped off at IAD post-customs, not because of any pre-customs TSA scan that's not supposed to happen, and likely didn't happen, in this case.
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Old May 3, 17, 4:11 pm
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OP had an international to international connection at IAD. I'm not sure whether he/she would have been required to pick up the bag after immigration and walk it through customs before rechecking it. [IIRC there's been some talk of a few USA airports allowing genuine international transit.] Normally one would recheck the bag just after exiting customs, assuming that it was checked through (which usually implies the requirement for a single ticket).

I'm confused about where the bag was delivered to the OP and IAD and why he/she had to run with it to a check in counter. Also, I don't think any USA airline permits bag drop just 20 minutes before scheduled departure, so that part doesn't make sense either.
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