A couple of years ago, as travel got cheaper (Yay! More impromptu adventures!) and weight restrictions got more limited (Boo! Less clothes & shoes to bring!), Ito and I began shopping around for lightweight polycarbonate suitcases to replace the indestructible, but HEAVY, oyster suitcases that we had. We eventually got swayed to the Zero Halliburton polycarbonate suitcases which looked good and had a lifetime (limited) warranty. We made our purchases at The Travel Club in Powerplant Mall, and a few weeks later left on a trip, hopping from Manila to Singapore, and a few days later to Cambodia, before heading the same way home after a few days in Siem Reap. After our trip, I noticed a crack in the corner of my suitcase–I immediately took it back to The Travel Club and explained that I had bought the case recently and only noticed the crack back in Manila. They accepted my suitcase, and within the week had replaced it with a brand new one 🙂 Talk about great after sales service!
Fast forward to three years (and numerous long-haul and short trips, both local and foreign) later, my three-year old crimson case–which had held up beautifully–took a non-stop trip from Manila to London and arrived in Heathrow looking like it had been trampled on by elephants. It was all scratched up, the zipper looked distorted, and it had cracked in the corner (numerous ‘Fragile’ stickers notwithstanding). By this time I knew well enough to immediately make a report at the airport, which I did. Thankfully we were spending the entire two weeks in London and not traveling around Europe, so I didn’t worry about the crack worsening during the course of our stay.
When we arrived back in Manila, I followed up the the report made in Heathrow with the airline’s baggage handling service in NAIA T2 and went home. While the representative I corresponded with was quick to respond, I rejected their initial offer since it wasn’t enough for a replacement. I decided to take my suitcase back to The Travel Club to see if they could assist me in any way since my suitcase was still under the lifetime ‘limited’ warranty (in the meantime, Ito’s Zero Halliburton suitcase continues to hold up just fine). At the same time, I also filed a claim with my travel insurance.
Initially, The Travel Club tried helping by issuing a certificate indicating the suitcase’s retail cost (around 5 times the initial compensation offer from the airline) and stating that it was beyond repair, but it soon became apparent that the airline would not be covering the full cost of a replacement suitcase. I was beginning to feel resigned to the whole thing and was going to charge it to unfortunate travel experience, when I received an email from The Travel Club (Primer Group).
Instead of repairing or exchanging my battered suitcase, they were offering me a spanking new ‘polycarbonate perfected’ suitcase of the same size (in the color of my choice) from their newest Briggs & Riley Torq collection. Best of all, it came with the ULTIMATE no-questions-asked-airline-mishandling-included lifetime warranty! You can imagine my relief at the thought of never having to go through this baggage-mishandling ordeal again!!
When Ito and I went to Powerplant, we met with the very gracious Ms. Joni Lim, Assistant Vice President of The Travel Club, and Ms. Renee Ngo, Brand Associate for Briggs & Riley, who took us out to a delicious lunch before handing over my handsome new adventure partner (well, other than Ito, hehe ;-)). I’m thrilled and can’t wait for our next trip! Thank you, The Travel Club, for consistently offering your customers such amazing, personalized service! (This is not a paid ad, just a tip of the hat from a truly satisfied customer 🙂 )
So, our damaged-luggage Travel Tips in a nutshell:
- Always check your luggage before leaving the airport, and file a report for any damages at the terminal. Also, take clear photos of the damages for you to keep on file.
- File a complaint with the airline (whose handlers damaged your luggage). Send them an email and provide them with the details along with the photos of your damaged luggage (there may be a maximum reimbursement fee, however, that may not cover the cost of more expensive luggage).
- File a claim with your travel insurance. Send them an email and provide them with the details along with the photos of your damaged luggage (there may be a maximum reimbursement fee, however, that may not cover the cost of more expensive luggage).
- Check if your luggage is covered by a warranty. Send an email to the local retailer (if you bought it locally), or to the international head office and provide them with the details along with the photos of your damaged luggage. Your luggage may still be covered by its warranty, and may be replaced.
- Have lots of patience and a sense of humor 🙂 At the end of the day, luggage mishaps are part of the adventure of traveling!
*As of this writing, the airline had doubled its initial compensation offer (which I accepted, for the hassle & aggravation) and my travel insurance also coughed up an additional minimum compensation. All’s well that ends well (although I am actually still waiting to receive both).
**(Suit)case closed–two & a half months after the report, I finally received the airline’s cash compensation of US$200 as well as my travel insurance’s maximum cash compensation of P8,167.17 (or US$192.26) for a total amount that was closer to–but still didn’t cover–my damaged suitcase’s retail cost. But all in all, it’s a happy ending to this travel tale! 🙂
UPDATE (4 years later) 2018- Happy that despite more traveling in the last four years, we have had no damaged luggage stories to report 🙂 🙂
My new travel partner–I chose a cool granite over crimson this time around 🙂
This suitcase is designed to look good while hitting the open skies (or sitting on a flower bed ;-))