When flying, you’re asked if your checked bags have anything fragile. If you answer yes then they put a fragile sticker or tag on the bag, but they also make you sign a liability waiver.

It seems to me that the minimal benefit of the fragile tag (see What do "Fragile" stickers on checked baggage do?) does not outweigh the liability waiver if something gets broken.

Is there really a good reason to answer in the affirmative?

  • 7
    Reminds me of the joys of putting "fragile - do not bend" stickers on items sent through the mail in the UK. The post office seemed to regard these as a challenge to find a way to bend the item, not as a warning!
    – alephzero
    Jul 29, 2018 at 12:32
  • 2
    They do try to take care of fragile items, but nothing is guaranteed. On a related note, see this. (And yes, people check flatscreen TVs on international flights all the time.) Jul 29, 2018 at 13:47
  • 3
    @MichaelHampton, disagree. Some handlers will be more careful, most will continue not caring at all, and a very few will intentionally treat it more roughly.
    – WGroleau
    Jul 29, 2018 at 15:09
  • 1
    @WGroleau You disagree with actual evidence? Have you got some of your own? Jul 29, 2018 at 16:38
  • 3
    I have watched many baggage handlers abusing bags, and at 64 years old, I have seen plenty of examples of the anti-social minority I mentioned, as well as evidence that those who actually give a hoot are also a minority.
    – WGroleau
    Jul 29, 2018 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


Let's put it this way: it doesn't hurt. The terms & conditions of any airline will already disclaim as much responsibility as possible for any luggage damaged in transit, the waiver is just an extra bit of legal ass-covering with the helpful side effect of (hopefully) making it clear to the passenger that the "fragile" tag is best effort, not a guarantee.

Also, while your mileage obviously may vary, many airports genuinely do handle fragile items differently: for example, in Sydney they're carted over to a separate corral by hand instead of being thrown on to the conveyor belt to play demolition derby with everybody else's suitcases. I quite regularly bring along cardboard boxes containing (well-padded) bottles, which get slapped with Fragile tags, and to date they've always come through with no visible damage.

  • 9
    I think the point that the waiver doesn't actually do much to the carrier's legal position - but does make it unambiguous to the passenger - is the crucial one. Jul 29, 2018 at 14:14
  • 5
    Additionally, I wouldn't be surprised if an airline tried to wriggle out of compensation for damaged luggage if the contents were clearly fragile and this was not declared up front to the airline so they could care for it better. It seems only sensible to declare fragile baggage as fragile.
    – niemiro
    Jul 29, 2018 at 20:02

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