What To Do When Packing Fragile Items For Flight

by Roni



Fragile stickers do not work on your checked bags

 I have worked as a baggage handler for 11 years and I constantly see checked bags with fragile stickers.  I think passengers believe that if they put a fragile sticker on their checked bags that will somehow make a difference in how the bag is treated. Trust me, It won’t.

No matter how big you write it or how big your sticker is, in most cases, it will not help.

I’m just trying to save you some frustration because most baggage handlers do not care about your fragile sticker. They should but most don’t and won’t.

The pictures below is of an acoustic guitar and the box is clearly marked fragile. The passenger also wrote it all over the box. You can’t see it well in this pic but this acoustic guitar is smashed between two big suitcases. See how much good the fragile sticker did?

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some of us that will take extra care with your bag but that’s only because we don’t mind taking extra steps to care for your fragile item.

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However, everyone isn’t like me and our job is to load and unload bags, not to gingerly place it in the plane or in a cart. If there are fragile items that can’t be carried on with you, then you need to send your bag by cargo or find out the different options the airline you are traveling on has for fragile items. Usually that includes paying much more than you would by checking your bag but if what you are traveling with is of value to you, then it is my recommendation that you pay the extra money to ensure its safe arrival.

Plus, when you check a bag there is no insurance you can buy to guarantee a safe arrival. If your fragile item shows up broken, you will have no recourse. But if you ship it through the airlines and pay whatever fee they charge, you will be insured.

If paying a shipping fee isn’t possible, then make sure to wrap your items in plenty of bubble wrap which can help your items immensely. Bubble wrap can be purchased rather cheaply in stores all across the country and the extra time it takes for you to wrap them with care will give you more piece of mind when you check your bag.


Have you ever marked your bags fragile? Did the bag(s) arrive safely?

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Leave a Comment


Where Would You Go August 17, 2015 - 12:38 pm

Actually they do work when the person at the check-in counter puts them (the airlines have different fragile labels).

Roni August 17, 2015 - 12:51 pm

Hi! As the person who loads bags I know for a fact most baggage handlers do not care about those stickers.
Thanks for commenting!

Where Would You Go August 17, 2015 - 1:40 pm

Maybe most of these baggage handler should get fired 🙂

Kirsten Jackson October 4, 2017 - 7:27 pm

Hey Roni! I don’t travel often so I don’t know a lot of tips and truths about flying. Last time I was on a flight, I stuffed my suitcase to the max because my cousin kept getting on my case about not overpacking and taking a big old suitcase. I had to sit on it to get it close but I was proud of myself because i got everything into a bag that i found out could have been a carry on. I’m NOTORIOUS for overpacking. Anyway, we got to the airport andI started watching how the handlers were throwing the bags onto the conveyor belt thingy and I started freaking out because I knew that if they threw mine, it would EXPLODE. Luckily it stayed in one piece but I’ll never do that again. Also, imagine my surprise when I saw that cousin’s bag was twice as big as mine. lol smh

Roni October 13, 2017 - 9:20 pm

So glad it didn’t explode! Did you wear all of those clothes you packed?

David Astley December 21, 2017 - 2:04 pm

Your article confirms what I suspected to be the case. But good advice about sending your things airfreight if they really are fragile. That way at least you can buy insurance and have the item repaired or replaced if it is damaged beyond repair.