On a recent ski trip to Colorado, when I unpacked my skis and poles from my bag, I found both poles to be broken right below the grips. They weren’t bent, they were cleanly broken in half. I use the best padded bag available, had plenty of clothing in the bag for added protection however the airlines were able to break them. I went to the baggage service desk and they told me the airlines are not responsible for sporting good items packed in soft bags. If they were in a hard case, it would have been a different story.
While standing in line and hearing other complaints, I also found the airlines do not take responsibility for damaging the bag while in their possession. If your bag’s handle or wheels get broken, too bad.
This means the airlines can throw the bags, jump on the bags, put a heavy pallet on top, and do not have to take responsibility. Somehow that does not seem right. So I checked 3 other airlines web site and they all say the same thing, NOT their fault if your luggage gets damaged while they have it.
Moral of this story is if you want your gear protected, it needs to be in a hard case or you risk your gear getting damaged.
Owner of AA