Reader Question: Emirates Destroyed Fragile Checked Items?


A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped me an email about situation that many must be facing when transporting fragile items. They arrive broken!

Reader Question Emirates

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I wander if you are able to assist? My wife and I recently returned from Russia to South Africa via Emirates travelling in business class. I had some family heirlooms, several crystal vases and bowls, that we recovered while in Russia and we went through the effort of packing them specially into their own and boxes, protecting them with bubble wrap packing them such that it was very clear that the items were fragile and contained glass. Upon checking in we went out of our way to indicate the fragility of the goods, the attendant that helped us added extra fragile stickers etc to our packaging, gave us our boarding passes with luggage tags and directed us to the oversize and fragile luggage area to hand the 2 boxes in. We then travelled via Dubai and changed planes on to JHB, both legs were A380, not sure if there is any relevance in that regard. When we arrived in JNB we collected our boxes from the special collection area in OR Tambo airport and discovered that it seemed our items had been involved in some sort of rugby match, all but 1 item were completely destroyed.

I proceeded to open a case with emirates in this regard, and I attach the response I got from them, I then proceeded to try and recover my loss from my own personal insurance and was advised I am not covered and I am not sure if I have cover under my travel insurance as I paid for my tickets via my credit card that supplies inclusive travel insurance, I haven’t as yet pursued this option and thought it best to contact you for some guidance first.

The question that is bugging me is how can it be that someone can damage my possessions while I entrust it to them for the duration of my voyage, and which I have no alternative but to give it to them, only that when it is damaged they accept absolutely no responsibility for the damage? Surely this can’t make sense…

Here’s the response that the reader had received from the airline:

Thank you for your e-mail message of 23 April in connection with your journey with Emirates. I regret to learn that your fragile items were received in a damaged condition. I can appreciate how unsettling this must have been for you.

I wish to advise you that in accordance with our Conditions of Carriage, which forms a part of your ticket contract, we are not liable for damage to or loss of fragile items, which are included in the passenger’s checked baggage, whether with or without our knowledge. Please refer to Article 8.3.3 of our Conditions of Carriage, which may be viewed on our website

Bags marked fragile are loaded separately and with care. However, damage can occur whilst transportation. Passengers must ensure that checked bags are sufficiently robust and well secured to withstand the usual and normal rigours of carriage without sustaining damage.

Regrettably, we are unable to assist you with your claim on this occasion. Your claim may be covered by your travel insurance policy. May I respectfully suggest that you contact your Insurers who may be able to assist you further with your claim.

I trust your future travel with Emirates is both enjoyable and up to your expectations.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the reader here has any recourse with Emirates. The airlines’ always have themselves covered on the Conditions of Carriage.

If one wants to transports truly valuable and fragile items, they should use agencies that are specialized for this and charge extraordinary amount of cash for their services.

One should only check in something that they can afford to lose or receive broken at the other end. If only we would live in a perfect world…..


Don’t get me started about fighting with transport companies such as UPS, FedEx, DHL etc. Even when it is crystal clear that it is their employees that are basically stealing valuable goods, the companies are just washing their hands.

I hope that the reader is able to recoup the value of the destroyed goods from one of the parties!