Alaska Airlines in San Jose International airport has a bit of a problem after its employees were filmed throwing suitcases on a concrete war in a contest akin to tossing the caber. In this case it was a rolling bag, but the concept appears the same.
The airline may be faced with more than just bad publicity. What is interesting is that the incident has drawn attention to an illegal practice in the industry where passengers are told that any damage to baggage parts like zippers and wheels are excluded from liability. The federal law says precisely the opposite.
On Nov. 25, the Department of Transportation issued a notice to airlines that inspections “uncovered the fact that certain airlines routinely exclude liability for damage to specific parts of checked baggage.” Under federal law, carriers are responsible for reimbursing damage incurred to handles, zippers, wheels and other exterior parts of luggage left in their care.
Airlines have until Jan. 9, 2016 to review and, if necessary, revise their checked baggage liability policies. Otherwise they may face fines.
Alaska Airlines may want to also review the suitcase toss competitions as outside of federal guidelines. I can only imagine the competition with Sumo bags.