Back in early August I got a new three-piece set of London Fog hardside spinners. (Spinner: a type of suitcase with four wheels that can turn in any direction.)
A couple of weeks after that, I took the two smaller pieces on a trip to South Carolina, and so far that’s the only time any piece of this luggage has been subjected to airline handling. I’m using it now even as I type, but this time we just took Uber as we weren’t going far.
So tonight we’re sitting here in our hotel room, and I need to get something out of the medium sized case. And lo and behold, there’s a half-inch hole in it, right near one of the wheels.
I honestly don’t know if this happened during the first trip, because I never inspected the cases that closely during it or afterwards. I can say that, when not in use, the empty cases are stored nested inside each other, standing upright on the wheels of the largest one.
So far there is no damage of any kind noticeable on the other two cases.
Did I damage it by the way I was storing it, or did I overload it? (If the latter though, I can’t see how it’s possible.)
Or did someone deliberately damage it? Again, though, I can’t see why. I didn’t use a padlock, so if anyone really wanted to rifle through its contents they could have easily done so. And when I was in SC I unpacked everything so the case was obviously open and empty.
Has anyone else seen similar damage to luggage of this type?
IMO, it looks like one of three different possible things:
Someone damaged it on purpose by hitting it with a tool; seems sort of unlikely as the damage doesn’t look like it would have been done with the intent of accessing the contents.
It fell during handling and landed on a protruding object such as the thread-end of a protruding bolt - maybe the threaded section of a floor anchor (conveyors are bolted down to concrete floors - typically there’s up to an inch of protruding threaded rod sticking straight up.
Stray bullet when Bruce Willis was shooting at bad guys in the baggage handling area. This may sound uncommon, but it does keep happening to the same guy.
Or something with a protruding spike landed on it. Those exposed spinner-type wheels are not all that sturdy. Very often the plastic parts of the wheels get broken off and the suitcase remains intact with a 3/8" diameter 1" long spike sticking out of it.
Now pile suitcases up like bricks, cam lot of them on top, and shake, rattle, & shove the whole mess for a couple hours. The spike will poke into whichever other suitcase is nearby.
The other common way that bags get damaged is by being gate checked. A bag that’s turned in out at the skycap or ticket counter is handled fairly genteelly until it gets onto the conveyors. Which, barring malfunction, treat them pretty genteelly until they get loaded on a cart & hauled to the plane.
OTOH, if bags are gate checked, they get slid down a chute from terminal level to ramp level. That’s a drop of 1-1/2 to 2 stories. The chutes are quite steep and just a little bit frictional, but not very much. The first bag down the chute slams into an inadequate cushion at the bottom. The second bag (or stroller or carseat) slides down and slams into the first item.
Lather rinse repeat for however many bags / strollers / car seats go down. Seems to be 15 or 20 on most of my flights. The chute will get emptied several times, so it’s not even like the #15 bag will only slide a couple feet before stopping. Almost everything gets up to almost full speed before colliding with whatever’s at the bottom.
There’s lots of ways for a protruding whatever on some item to poke a hole in the rather brittle surface of a bag like the OP’s. It might have taken 3 or 4 poundings from the later chute drops to penetrate, but penetrate it will.
The punchline here is that if you’re gate-checking a bag thinking that that will give it more kid-glove handling vs. ticket counter checking it, you’ve got it backwards.