Luggage – Checking vs. Shipping

IMAG1596In spite of traveling frequently, I had never shipped my luggage until last month.  After looking at several options, I decided to use FedEx because I had a FedEx storefront near my home, I could insure the luggage, and it was slightly less expensive than the others.

Even though FedEx was the least expensive shipping option, it was still more money than checking with the airline.  The particular airline I was flying charges $25 for a standard bag weighing less than 50 pounds.  FedEx charged about $62 for ground shipping including a declared value of $800.  Regardless, I was going to be pressed for time both on my way to my departure airport and after arriving at my destination so I decided that paying the extra would save me valuable time.

I completed packing one week prior to my trip so that I could save money by shipping ground and took my suitcase to my local FedEx store.  I completed the shipping form and then was very surprised to find that my luggage was going to be shipped as is. The clerk simply put a sticky tag around the handle the same way the airline does when checking luggage.  I asked about a box or some sort of luggage protector and was assured this was standard.

I loved the fact that I could track my bag’s progress to its destination.  I was worried about it arriving on time, but it actually arrived a day early!  I was relieved to know that my luggage would be waiting for me at my hotel.

Upon check in at the hotel, I let them know that I had shipped my luggage and ran into an unexpected glitch.  FedEx or similar shipments for guests were held in the hotel’s business center regardless of the fact that it was luggage and, being a Friday evening, the business office was closed for the weekend.  The general manager was called and after about an hour, my luggage was delivered to my hotel room, which is when I discovered that one of the four wheels was missing.

I contacted the luggage company and was told I needed to file a claim with FedEx, which I did.  After completing the online paperwork and sending photos of the broken luggage and my shipping forms and label, I was initially told that they would not honor my claim because it only covered contents and not packaging, which my luggage was considered since it was not boxed.  I asked why they didn’t box it and after a short email conversation, they agreed to pay for me to get it repaired with a new wheel.  Unfortunately, this piece was Italian purchased in Italy so getting it repaired was not going to be easy.  When I forwarded an email from the luggage company explaining there are no  repair centers in my area to FedEx, the representative with whom I spoke agreed to cover my entire claim.  I received a check to replace the luggage with a brand new, identical piece last week.

There were some definite advantages to shipping my luggage:

  • It was fabulous skipping the check in line and even better to skip baggage claim.  I easily saved an hour or two.
  • FedEx did end up covering the cost to replace my luggage.  Most airlines would not as the loss of a wheel is considered normal wear and tear.

Unfortunately, the higher cost, the fact that at least in this instance my luggage was not easily accessible at the hotel, and having to pack a week early would probably deter me from doing it again.

One thought on “Luggage – Checking vs. Shipping

  1. Tina Martinez

    I have wondered about this especially when we fly to Denver to visit family. Still not sure, but at least I would be shipping to a family member not a hotel. If I do ship, I believe I will put my stuff in a box before I ship.



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