This website reads:

Don’t Leave Any Loose Ends

Be sure all of the compartments and pockets on your bag are securely zipped and fastened, and don’t leave anything hanging outside of it, such as shoes laced to a handle or backpack straps dangling in all directions. These items can easily get caught on the conveyor belt at the airport and get either destroyed or lost.

Is it possible that the handles of this duffel bag could be caught in a conveyor belt and result in lost luggage?

enter image description here

If so, should I cut this handles off, or will that infuriate baggage handlers because they will struggle to carry/load it?

  • 1
    All sorts of things can result in damage to your luggage. FWIW I have a bag very similar to the one in your photo and it's flown all over the place without a problem.
    – user90371
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 2:45
  • From a Delta representative: "I can't say that the plastic bags are available at the ticket counter because sometimes they will just put those bags in a bin to go down to the sorting area so it won't get caught in the conveyer belt."
    – Lopey Tall
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


I have flown with many duffel bags as hold luggage and I have never had a problem with the handles. The warning you quote refers mostly to big rucksacks which have thick loose shoulder straps, and maybe even chest and waist straps.

Having said this, if you want to be extra careful with your luggage there are a few options you can consider:

  1. Get a rucksack cover/bag and put your duffel bag in there:

rucksack travel cover

  1. Wrap your luggage in plastic, either at home or using one of the many wrapping services in the airport

  2. Tie the handles together by wrapping them with tape, or use zip ties to hold them together

  • 1
    Or wrap the handles around the bag and tie them together such that they stay that way.
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 8:04
  • I have seen many comments online about wrapping your luggage in plastic. However, I am flying from Philly to Atlanta to Amsterdam and thus I am dealing with the U.S. TSA, who state that any bag needs to be able to be opened, hence "TSA approved locks." Doesn't this disallow me from wrapping in plastic?? The top answer here does mention a complimentary plastic bag during check-in, travel.stackexchange.com/questions/42005/…, does anyone know if this is common in the US even with TSA restrictions?
    – Lopey Tall
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 15:49
  • @LopeyTall TSA will find a way to open your luggage regardless of whether you wrap it in plastic or in vanadium. And TSA locks are mostly useless in terms of the security they provide. Don't worry too much about this. ;)
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 16:06
  • @JoErNanO I don't doubt that. This is the reason for my comment. Why would I or anyone wrap a bag in plastic if TSA might rip it off and I'm back to worrying about the straps/handles being an issue.
    – Lopey Tall
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 16:27
  • @JoErNanO can you link that rucksack cover you included as an image?
    – Lopey Tall
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 16:44

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