SQ / Singapore Airlines – damaged luggage issue in Hong Kong

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  • GeertRenmans

    I fly at least 6 times a year up and down with SQ From Hong Kong to London. (my kids are in school there). I am also a supplementary Solitaire member for the last 17 years.

    Upon arrival in Hong Kong I discovered that one of my suitcases was damaged (zipper was damaged and could not be used anymore)/ I went straight to their handling agent and was offered immediately 3 options: 1) they could provide me with a report for my travel insurance, 2) They could try to fix it or 3) I was offered 500 HKD (50 Euro) as compensation. I argued with them that they destroyed the luggage so why should my insurance pay for their damaged caused, also the 500HKD would never cover a new suitcase (bought a year ago) so I asked to see somebody from Singapore airlines… a girl appeared and immediately the same offer was made but the amount got up to 800HKD… again I argued that the money wouldn’t even cover a new one. So she agreed to have my luggage picked up from my place in Hkg and tried to have it repaired. Nothing happened for 3 days and I was forced to contact the airline direct. Anyway suitcase was picked up on Thursday and was told on Saturday afternoon that they couldn’t fix it and would offer me 1080HKD (no idea how they came to that amount) and it was a take it or leave it deal…

    What actually made it worse that up till today I have not received any apologies or even an acknowledgement of damage caused by them…

    Now I would like to hear from members…
    1) What would you do in my situation?
    2) Have you ever had similar experience with SQ or any other carrier? And what did they offer you?


    Very sorry to hear about what happened to you. 1. If that were (was?) me I would take the money and then move on, forget about it. That’s just me of course. 2. I’ve never had luggage damaged in nearly 50 years of flying, though I’ve had a large suitcase vanish for ever – never got it back (I got the standard per kilo compensation – which took months to arrive – THAT was annoying, to me).


    The only time I’ve had satisfactory responses to luggage damage claims were, ordered from best to worst :

    SR (the old Swissair) who gave me a set of 3 nesting Samsonites to replace one they had dropped on a corner and broken- with old Samsonites that took some doing but it was JNB where nothing is unbreakable or thiefproof.

    AA in MIA, who rang a luggage store, priced a replacement, and gave me a voucher for that value, plus $50 for a taxi.

    AZ in ROM who refused to do anything about it until I demanded to see a manager, told him I worked for the travel press in South Africa (not entirely true) and would deal with it there. It turned out that the GM for Southern Africa was him ‘amico’ so I was ushered to a luggage shop and given free reign to choose a new suitcase.

    BA who broke a new Rimowa trunk and didn’t quibble over replacing it with like for like, but took months to actually do so.

    IB who left one of the above Samsonites looking as if it had been dragged down the runway after it travelled LHR-MAD-BUE-MVD-BUE. No idea why it did the side trip to MVD. They agreed to have it ‘repaired’ and the repair consisted of sanding down the abraded surfaces so much that it ended up wafer thin rendering the suitcase unsuitable for anything other than storage.

    When I worked for airlines, we knew that people took chances and checked in damaged cases and then claimed we’d damaged them. There is a solution to that but it involves a lot of time and vigilance on the part of the check-in staff. Not implying that any of us would do such a thing!

    Then there’s ‘missing contents’. It’s amazing how many people checked in a suitcase full of Armani suits, Rolleiflex cameras, Pierre Cardin shirts …… said suitcase goes AWOL and is tracked and retrieved, and turns out to contain a few pairs of dirty jeans, holey underpants, a scruffy lumberjacket and not much else.


    BA who broke a new Rimowa trunk and didn’t quibble over replacing it with like for like, but took months to actually do so.

    Ditto, replaced my case, no quibbles with a superior model , very impressed with their aftercare

    Saturday afternoon that they couldn’t fix it and would offer me 1080HKD (no idea how they came to that amount) and it was a take it or leave it deal…

    I suspect that SQ has upped their offer after doing a bit of market research and valued a like for like replacement case .
    Don’t understand why airlines do that, because they’re valuing at retail price , when they could purchase at cost, and possibly heavily discounted if they buy in bulk , which is what I assume BA do .


    Whilst I am sure the airlines and their handling agents share a degree of responsibility for damaged luggage, I also think it is fair to expect checked luggage is going to get damaged and marked whilst in transit.

    The only damaged item I have suffered is when the extendable handle became locked and would not close. Baggage handlers literally cut the handle off. On arrival, American simply offered me a replacement case and I walked away with it.

    My own ‘case management system’ – I buy for around $65 a hard plastic case, in any colour but black (current one is bright yellow) brand NAUTICA from Bed Bath and Beyond. It gets continually marked, damaged and scratched. BUT – it lasts around 4 to 5 years. Generally hand baggage but occasionally it get’s checked in.

    I am bewildered though why people buy a set of cases costing thousands and then expect them to arrive on the luggage belt unmarked.

    5 users thanked author for this post.


    I completely agree with Martyn about luggage. I tend to buy cheap and I reckon if they last me for a year I’ve done well.

    About 5 years ago I bought a Tripp hard-shell medium size 4-wheel upright suitcase from Debenhams. I bought it for a specific purpose as I needed it to fit into another case. It cost about £60 and I expected it to last maybe 5 trips. As it happens, it is still going strong after countless multi-sector journey and has nothing more than a few scuff marks and a dent here and there. It is so robust, light and easy to handle that it has become my ‘go-to’ suitcase for many journeys. It has come back from CPT with 8-10 bottles of wine, protected by clothes and groceries, and I’ve never had a breakage.


    I always buy Delsey suitcases from a department store in Bangkok – I understand that they have a factory in Thailand and this store has a large interesting range and always lots of ‘specials’ on ranges that I have never seen elsewhere.
    We are a largeish family who travel a lot for business and pleasure and perhaps have a dozen Delsey’s of varying size and age the eldest of which is a disreputable hard shell mid size specimen that is over 30 years old and still going strong despite being badly scuffed marked and stickered.
    We travel a lot with Cathay and from time to time a case gets damaged. This has never been any sort of issue and on arrival back in HK the bag is reported, picked up repaired (one was replaced a few years ago) and returned in a few day.
    Frankly I am rather surprised at the poor treatment that was received from Singapore Airlines as I would have thought that they would have had a decent luggage policy in place similar to the Cathay one.


    I have had 3 large cases, all samsonite replaced in past 4 years with no arguments from CX, KLM and AY. 2 of those could have been repaired but they just changed them with no arguments.


    I’ve been using Briggs and Riley for many years. A wheeled suiter has been in an aircraft hold over 100 times and still looks brand new.


    I flew from Dubai to Paris CDG on AF and on arrival my suitcase had a big knife stab mark in it. Nothing was stolen though. On reporting this to the desk in the baggage reclaim I received immediate suitable compensation ( can’t remember the exact figure though…………….) but I was satisfied with how AF dealt with the matter.


    Although I travel long haul a lot but only 50% of the time I have had checked suitcases.

    Once wheel was missing after a travel from USA to Singapore in SQ. After my complain they noted my hotel address, picked up the suitcase next day and returned with new wheel with no fuss.

    On another occasion my (TSA)lock was broken but all inside was intact, so I assumed it was TSA who did it, so didn’t claim anything from SQ. (Wrote a feedback to TSA and received a standard reply!) So I agree with Martin that airlines are not always responsible.

    On the compensation: during my recent US trip, my shopping was excessive (Merry Christmas to all) and had to buy a suitcase. Bought a reasonably high end Delsey (antitheft zippers, spinner wheels with break, etc) from Macy’s and after discount got under $300. So €100 euro is very reasonable compensation unless you have a Briggs & Reily or Tumi and in that case they will replace for a zipper damage.

    If you see how a checked bag travel all the way (you tube available), you need to accept that sometimes it may get damage and if airlines give reasonable compensation, just be happy.


    I have had many bags damaged over the years – it happens! My experiences have been:

    CX: Invariably offer to repair the bags, sometimes offer to replace it on the spot, sometimes offer cash compensation if they don’t have a suitable replacement and it can’t be repaired (like the one they crushed on my way to London – it was literally a couple of inches narrower than before!) and when this has happened have happily covered the cost of a true equivalent. Most of the time, though, they are repairable, and they collect the bag from my hotel/home, fix it and return it.

    BA: Cash compensation which was hardly adequate but not worth fighting for more.

    UA: Maintained they were only liable for damage to the INSIDE of the suitcase and flatly refused any compensation despite having removed both a wheel and the handle (that was a real pain, as you can imagine)

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