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My noise-canceling headset's detachable cable was damaged while plugged into the airplane jack during a long-haul flight.

I noticed that the jack was bended at the time, but I did not react immediately because I was tired from the whole experience and thought it would not be much of a deal. However, over time (during the flight) the jack became unusable.

I did not know how to react. In general it would not be much of an issue but it is a $30 cable, not a usual one you can find in a convenience store.

Of course the flight is over now, is there any possibility of a reimbursement for the damage? Also, more generally how should one react when his/her device is damaged by the flight personnel?

  • 5
    How do you know it was damaged by the flight crew? – Burhan Khalid Mar 25 '16 at 7:56
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    I am particularly puzzled by the title, because carts stay in the aisles, and passengers' belongings should not be in the aisles. – Patricia Shanahan Mar 25 '16 at 9:19
  • And if it was damaged by the flight crew, did they notice the incident? edit your question. – user40521 Mar 25 '16 at 9:59
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    This is the kind of thing a half-decent travel insurance could be used for. – MastaBaba Mar 25 '16 at 16:32
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    I gotta say, whatever the airline's policy is, my own feeling is that if you leave something somewhere a cart can damage it, that is on you. And I say that as someone who has had a toe run over more than once. – Malvolio Mar 26 '16 at 0:52
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It looks like you don't have much of a claim.
Assumption 1: It sounds as if the cart hooked your dangling cable.
Assumption 2: The flight personnel noticed the incident.

You can check the company's website where to claim damage, but then they will just have to take your word for it.
You should of course add all flight details, but I doubt they are going to track down the personnel from that flight and ask if they remember anything.
So it's totally up to the company to honor your claim or not; they will only consider their reputation, the amount, the time they want to spend on this, and maybe the flight history you have with them.

Personally I think this isn't worth doing the effort. Incidents happen, no one did anything 'wrong', it's a case of bad luck. Get a new cable ASAP and forget it.


And more generally how should one react when his/her device is damaged by the flight personnel?:
Ask that same personnel while still on the flight. They will know what their company policy is, where you should go, and it will cement the incident in their mind.

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    This is a great answer; but it bears mentioning that incidents like this is what travel insurance can be useful. – Burhan Khalid Mar 27 '16 at 6:11
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I cannot count how many times I've had my elbow or foot banged on by the service trolley. In each case, the crew noticed immediately and apologized. Honestly though, its my fault - I should not be using the isle as my personal stretch area.

I am honestly surprised that they did not do the same on this occasion. In order for the cord to be bent at the jack, it would have had to been caught by the trolley, and with significant force at that in order to bend and damage the jack (vs. just having it pop out of the socket, as it happens many times, or simply have the wheel roll over the cable - also happened to me a few times).

Such a force should have been noticed by the flight crew - and frankly, by yourself. Its not an insignificant amount of force.

In order to get reimbursement (and I'm assuming from the airline), you'd have to claim some sort of negligence or fault on their part.

As you never notified the flight crew at the time of the incident (in order for there to be a record of it) - or during the remainder of the flight - the airline can claim that the item was damaged somewhere else and you are just trying to get the airline to pay for it; and you have no recourse here.

The only claims procedure I know of at airlines is for luggage and not personal electronic items. So I am not sure what/how you would even begin here.

I would recommend:

  1. Checking with your travel insurance or item warranty to see if the item is covered.

  2. Just buy a new cable.

  3. Call the airline customer service desk call center and explain your situation; although again, I am not sure how much they can help since you never reported the incident to the flight crew.

In the future, if you run into a situation where your personal belongings have been damaged due to negligence of the flight crew - you should immediately notify them of the action; and notify the flight purser (the senior flight attendant). They will know the procedure and if there is any paperwork to be filed for claims/reimbursement.

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