Earlier this month we shared some advice from an anonymous airline baggage handler, who revealed that hard-sided “spinners” suitcases are safest if you must transport valuables (e.g. camera gear) in checked baggage. To see why, check out the video above by Delta Airlines. They drilled holes into a hardcase and installed six outward-facing cameras to document what a bag goes through after it disappears behind those black rubber flaps and before it emerges onto the conveyor belt in the baggage claim area. The video doesn’t show any abuse, but there’s a number of points along the journey where careless handlers have the opportunity to mishandle bags.
You probably already know that it’s not a good idea to include your expensive camera gear with check in luggage, but what if you have no choice? If you must, then putting your gear inside a hard-sided “spinner” suitcase with four wheels is your best bet. The Huffington Post has published an interesting interview with an anonymous baggage handler, who gives the following advice:
Hard-sided suitcases will get less damage, but also look for well-designed handles that are attached with rivets and some sort of protection around the wheels. Speaking of wheels, the best bags to get are the “spinners” with four wheels on the bottom. We like these because we don’t have to throw them when loading. We just roll them down the belly of the plane so your bag and its contents will suffer much less damage.
The handler reveals that bags are commonly subjected to all kinds of abuse due to the strict schedules the handlers must abide by.