I have a suitcase which was damaged on a previous flight, the top handle was ripped off. There is no "structural damage", the handle base is still there.

Will I have issues when checking in the case on my next flight? Can the case be rejected as already damaged?

  • If in doubt, or if you just want to protect your luggage some more, most airports have a baggage wrapping service. Many of these baggage wrapping machines are self-service.
    – MrWhite
    Mar 24, 2017 at 2:13

3 Answers 3


I suspect you'll have no trouble at all.

My wife & I recently flew to the US from the UK with a brand new (and very cheap) suitcase with a front zip-up pocket. It got to the US okay, but on the next (domestic US) leg of the journey, the front panel had been torn off - it was hanging by a scrap of fabric and the contents of the case were protected only by the inner lining of the bag. We patched it up with a lot of very obvious bright-blue duct tape, and you could see at a glance it had been repaired. As I recall, the airline didn't even comment when we checked it back in for the flight home; it certainly got accepted okay.

The airline might want to make a note that it's already damaged (in case you tried to claim for damage) but it seems very unlikely they'd refuse to carry it unless it looked totally unsound (eg tied up with a single bit of string) or if it might be unsafe for baggage handling machinery (or handlers). For example, imagine a roller suitcase where the extending handle is jammed "up" - and so it permanently has a two-foot metal pole sticking out of it. I can imagine an airline might reject this.

  • 4
    A lot of airlines will make you sign a release on the back side of the baggage tag acknowledging that it was damaged. And they will not cover any additional damage (ie if their flights cause further damage).
    – user13044
    Mar 23, 2017 at 12:34
  • 2
    Did you claim damages for that leg where it was damaged successfully?
    – simbabque
    Mar 23, 2017 at 13:26
  • @simbabque I think that considering it was a very cheap suitcase, claiming damages is probably not worth the time.
    – Nzall
    Mar 23, 2017 at 13:48
  • 2
    @simbabque I wrote it off as a lesson not to buy a £20 suitcase next time :-). The contents were undamaged and it seemed more trouble than it was worth to claim for the bag. Mar 23, 2017 at 13:52
  • My fiance once forgot to put the handle on his suitcase down when checking it in - the check-in staff assured us that the baggage handlers would see it and retract it. They didn't - it got bent almost at right-angles during the flight. Lesson learned. Mar 23, 2017 at 14:43

I flew from mainland France to Mayotte, last summer, and the Mahores have some interesting strategies for "cheap luggage".

  • Many of them were using big coolers wrapped in plastic, for example.
  • Others had simple "bundles" of clothes also wrapped in plastic.
  • ...

It was all very exotic, though all of them were sufficiently wrapped up to not have any loose bit hanging which I would expect the airline to be most concerned about (in case it catches into something).

  • Do you really mean "esoteric"?
    – psmears
    Mar 23, 2017 at 17:14
  • @psmears: No, I meant exotic :) Mar 23, 2017 at 17:27
  • Ah, that makes more sense :-)
    – psmears
    Mar 23, 2017 at 17:41

As Andrew said, it's very unlikely that they'll prevent you from checking it in.

I flew from the UK to Sweden last year. The suitcase I had was broken: the handle was locked in the topmost position, and it was impossible to "push it back" into the suitcase again.

The airline had me sign a waiver, saying that the suitcase was already damaged, and after that they checked it in without problems. Apart from you having to sign something like this, I don't see any trouble with you checking in your luggage.

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