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United broke my zipper on my new Rick Steves suitcase!

My zipper got caught on luggage carousel as it came through and pulled one of the zipper pulls off completely and broke the other. The zipper is intact and the broken pull works. I can file a claim but no one near me repairs them. Any suggestions?

Posted by
11526 posts

Make the claim and ask United for for guidance on where to have it repaired and will they pay the shipping cost to/from the nearest qualified repairer. Depending on the specifics of your situation they may offer a cash out and let you buy a new bag. Won't hurt to make claim and see what they offer to do.

The risks of traveling ... It can be a luggage jungle out there!
A shoe repair store may be able to help you. I'm glad the zipper is intact. Perhaps, you can go to a fabric store and find a zipper pull replacement. Is it just the tab or the slider portion that is broke? If it's the tab - you can try a twist tie (like on bread bags). Perhaps something like a keychain loop could be added?

Posted by
2023 posts

Agree with the advice on checking with a shoe repair business. The last time I visited my local shoe repair place I noticed quite a few pieces of luggage ready for pick up.

Posted by
8651 posts

First of all, let me tell you that Rick Steves stands behind its product. I had a similar problem with a broken zipper after just one use and they promptly and cheerfully replaced the bag for me. I would make my next phone call to their store............

Posted by
2455 posts

brodsky49, good luck with United. Some years ago, the handle was ripped off my bag when I was flying United, and they told me they did not cover “appendages”, which might have been damaged or loosened before the flight. Of course this made the bag, almost new, unusable. Is a zipper pull an appendage? But, the Rick Steves store has been great in replacing items. With them however, I would suggest you not begin with “United broke my zipper”, but maybe better “My bag’s zipper broke in transit,” if you get my thinking.

Posted by
4012 posts

My zipper got caught on luggage carousel as it came through and pulled
one of the zipper pulls off completely and broke the other. The zipper
is intact and the broken pull works. I can file a claim but no one
near me repairs them. Any suggestions?

I think you're wasting your time if you blame an airline for damage done by a baggage carousel. Why blame United? If you want to be compensated, it is the airport equipment that caused the damage so go after the company that owns the airport. If it is a governmental body, good luck with that! You'll probably win Powerball first.

First of all, let me tell you that Rick Steves stands behind its
product. I had a similar problem with a broken zipper after just one
use and they promptly and cheerfully replaced the bag for me. I would
make my next phone call to their store............

If Rick Steves' company will replace a suitcase at no cost whatsoever to the customer that wasn't defective but instead was damaged by airport equipment, I'm impressed!

Posted by
1450 posts

good luck. YEARS ago, like 1988, when everyone got meals on flights and luggage sizes were a mere suggestion, I was flying from DC thru Minneapolis to st Louis. my bag not only did not make the transfer onto my last plane, it was left outside somewhere overnight in the rain. even tho the airline admitted fault (and did give me like a $100 dry cleaning voucher) when it came to compensating me for the actual suitcase, they brought an ugly gray vinyl thing out from the back room.

Posted by
15710 posts

Unfortunately, airlines won't compensate you for a broken zipper pull. They are easily replaced. You can contact the RS office to see if they will send you a new one or you can find a store that sells luggage accessories and they would probably have them. Those are easy to put on.

If you're an Amazon shopper you could just search for "luggage zipper pulls" and you will get plenty of choices.

Posted by
166 posts

I agree with Frank II, if it is just the pulls that need replacing you can get those cheaply and easily, I would just replace them and only travel carry-on in the future.

Posted by
2714 posts

Another good post on why never to check luggage. What if this happened on the outbound leg. Not a show stopper but puts a damper on your vacation.

Posted by
2147 posts

Hi brod, this happened to my RS rolling carry on a few years ago. I used a small key ring to fix it, works fine. Agree that a shoe repair shop could probably fix it properly. I still check the bag.

I just think of luggage damage as a normal travel risk. Kind of like - if I go skating - I could crash. I travel with a few "luggage repair" supplies like duct tape, a little paracord and a sewing needle, a few heavy safety pins, twist ties. In other words - I'm going to find a way to make my luggage work on a trip to get me through. I am not afraid to check luggage. My husband's case had some fabric torn once. It still works though and we still use it. I just take an "oh well ..." approach to this stuff.

I just checked Amazon. There are many zipper pull choices and repair kits. I think Walmart even has zipper pulls in the camping section. I don't think you will have much trouble here.

Posted by
156 posts

The only experience I had where I had to file a claim for broken luggage was with US Airways (now American) several years ago, a broken wheel on a nearly new Travelpro rolling bag. With a cheaper bag, I wouldn’t have bothered, but with a better make, I decided to pursue a claim. There was no way of knowing where in the trip the damage (wheel broken) occurred, but the airline was more than accommodating and the process was pretty easy.

Luckily, I live in a major city, and though I had to make a bit of a drive, the airline comped the repair with a local shop. I also discovered that many shoe repair shops handle luggage repair, some with direct connections to different airlines.

I’m not sure about the “airport/airline” jurisdictional difference, if any, but I’d go to the airline first and make a claim unless the airline specifically hands you off to the airport management. And it might depend on the airport. But a good piece of luggage is definitely worth a resolution.

Posted by
3263 posts

I agree with Sun-baked-in-Florida. Airlines/ports warn not to have anything dangling that could get caught. However, it's just the cost of traveling. Hardly worth bothering to blame anyone or to stress about claims for a silly zipper pull. Make shift a repair and move on.

If you haven't gotten around to your zipper issue yet - Magellan's has a nice luggage zipper pull that's easy to attach. Package of 3 for $8. (I don't know about shipping cost.). Then, you can just leave the spares in your suitcase. These got positve reviews and look like good quality. An easy solution. WalMart has the cord type zipper pulls for less money. I would spend a few extra bucks and get the Magellan ones - less likely to snag.

Posted by
2633 posts

On a United trip to Tallinn my suitcase zipper was broken--not at all noticeable until I got to my room and realized I could open it but it could not be zipped again, necessitating a trip to a local dept store to buy a new one. Annoying since I had bought it for maybe $50 at TJMaxx and ended up with the equivalent of buying at Nordstrom, ouch. I probably could have searched cheaper options but figured I might as well get quality and be done with it, didn't want my whole trip to be about finding a cheap suitcase. I now zip to the end and then tuck the pull inside, leaving nothing to dangle and catch.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everbody! I got back from Europe and promptly came down with flu! I will act on one or more of these great suggestions.