American Airlines force checked our carry on bag and damaged the laptop it contained

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Nov 17, 2017
At the bottom of the ramp boarding the plane our carry-on bag was briskly taken by an American Airlines agent saying there was no room on board. No advice was given suggesting we remove a laptop from the bag and we were rushed onto the plane with no chance to even realize damage could occur. When we got home we found the hard drive was broken and had to be replaced at a cost of $234.86. A claim was filed through proper channels but denied even despite our informing the airlines they paid another claim of $1000 for a scenario that was EXACTLY the same as ours. That claimant was Wynn Winberg and that case was reported on this website.

We only wish to be reimbursed the $234.86 we paid to have the laptop's hard drive replaced. We are not demanding compensation for the loss of information the hard drive contained as we are reasonable people.

The damage occurred on Oct 30, 2017 and the damage claim was filed by email the next day.

Any help will be greatly appreciated. We are retired living on a small pension so truly need to recover this undue expense.
Likes: Dave Basara

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
You should never turn over a bag with anything valuable in it - we always have our valuables packed in a lightweight bag inside our carry on in case this we are forced to gate check a bag. You should also have pulled out any prescription meds as well. John gave you the right advice about writing to executives.


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
Ted, the airlines have cracked down on people hauling large bags on to the airplane. They now go to great lengths to check the carryons while you're still in the jetway. This at least is better than letting the flight attendants deal with it all and endure the complaining.

Unfortunately, they're not telling their passengers much and leaving it up to us to pick up this intell as we go along. Experienced flyers know that boarding in a late group carries a risk of your bag being checked at the gate, so most carry a little nylon duffel to pack the fragile items in and carry on board.

I do wish someone would take legal steps to force the airlines to either handle this situation properly or be responsible for the damages. To grab your bag, give you no instructions, check it, break it and deny responsibility seems just plain dishonest to me.