Now, I must start off by saying that I hate the TSA. I personally believe that the introduction of the body scanners is a violation of personal privacy and was an ill advised and premature decision made without fully investigating all health impacts due to radiation.
Now, last year I took a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago where my bag was damaged. When I retrieved my bag at the baggage claim, the zipper pocket was hanging wide open and I thought that the airline baggage handlers had damaged my bag. As it turns out, I found a TSA inspection slip inside the pocket and immediately realized my bag had been damaged by the TSA!
I was furious. I paid $300 for my bag, albeit 4 years ago, and it had served me very well over the years. I just couldn’t believe that the TSA would completely rip open one of the zippers and basically damage an entire row of the zipper so that I was unable to close the pocket. I spent a good hour of research online and realized that it is possible to file a complaint with the TSA when your luggage is damaged during an inspection. After reading up on what I needed to do, I assembled a package that included everything I needed to prove my case to the TSA and request that my bag be replaced. The items I provided in the package included:
1. Completed claim form
2. Receipt for luggage purchase
3. Form filled out by luggage repair shop stating that the bag could not be repaired
4. Pictures of the damage
5. Baggage claim tag and boarding passes
6. The TSA inspection slip I found in my bag pocket
Having worked in the government for several years I knew that you must fill out every single part of the application and provide documentation for every item they request or else you risk that your claim will be deemed invalid or insufficient. Therefore I even drove to my local luggage repair shop and had them inspect the bag and give me a note stating that the damage could not be repaired (it only took me 15 min to do).
As with anything concerning the government, it took the TSA about 4-5 months to respond to my claim, but just yesterday I received a letter stating that they determined that the TSA is willing to settle my claim for $200, and all I need to do is send in a form stating that I accept their offer and I am willing to receive a check from the US Treasury.
I’m going to make a copy of this and send it in tomorrow!
Score: Little Guy = 1 vs. TSA = 0