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This week, when flying from Stockholm to London, a thunderstorm struck while the plane was being refuelled and loaded. This meant both these had to stop (because of the risk of lightning). While this was happening, I did notice that our luggage was left on the luggage trucks, with a bit of plastic on the top, which did a poor job of protecting our luggage and as a result a lot of the contents of my suitcase got wet and I've had to throw various books/childrens toys away.

Is it usual to leave luggage out like this? Should I be wrapping stuff in waterproof liners like I would when trekking.

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    Unfortunately this seems to be at least not unusual. My backpack was once on the top of a luggage truck and right before it could be loaded into the aircraft, they had to stop, since a major thunderstorm hit Buenos Aires. We had to wait at the airport for a couple of hours and my luggage was still out there. When I finally got it back a 13 hours flight later, everything in my backpack was socking wet. I was really pissed off and complained about it. – RoflcoptrException Jul 29 '14 at 14:42
  • Did anything good come out of complaining (money ? vouchers ? a promise not to do it again ?) – matt freake Jul 29 '14 at 14:48
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    They just said that they're sorry and they will try to avoid it in future. – RoflcoptrException Jul 29 '14 at 14:50
  • This is too late to be useful to you, but for what it's worth, I put my clothes in clear plastic 2-gallon "Ziploc" bags before packing them in the suitcase. It provides a measure of protection against fumes and bedbugs as well as spills, and also makes it easier to pack (since clothes will stay compressed when you seal the air out) and sort (being clear and flat, and I can use a different bag for each day's change of clothes). – choster Jul 30 '14 at 15:37
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    My girlfriend had the same thing happen, we got a pretty decent refund. You just have to prove things were destroyed. This was in the EU. – Thorst Aug 20 '14 at 7:06
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Is it usual, no. Does it happen, yes.

Baggage travels from the terminal to plane side in a variety of conveyances, some which are covered and protected from rain, some which are not. And unfortunately, there is really no covered area plane side where they could move the uncovered baggage cart to if it starts raining. While you may see the ramp staff hide under the wing during rains, safety rules often prohibit the tugs and baggage carts from going under the wing (especially on smaller planes that would have hand loading).

For the most part you probably need not worry about it, but it never hurts to consider how you are flying and through which cities. If your flights involve smaller aircraft (737, 757, A320, RJ, prop planes, etc) and you are flying through a city where frequent showers occur, then protecting things inside your bag (especially those that might be damaged by water) might be warranted. Otherwise, I wouldn't be too concerned.

  • It actually was a 737 – matt freake Jul 30 '14 at 15:50

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