Have you ever experienced the disappointment of retrieving your beloved Rimowa suitcase from the baggage carousel only to discover that it had been damaged during the flight? 

Unfortunately, mishaps like these can happen, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to address the issue, such as:

  • Reporting the damage promptly.
  • Keep your baggage tags, as the airline will likely need them for processing your claim.
  • Requesting and filling out a damage report form. 
  • Following up with the baggage claim department to track the progress of your claim and more.

In this post, we’ll guide you through dealing with a damaged Rimowa suitcase caused by an airliner. We will address common concerns, such as who is responsible for the damages and who will cover the costs. 

We’ll also discuss the necessary evidence you need to support your claim and where to report the issue so that you can get either reimbursement, a replacement, or a repair for your beloved Rimowa suitcase.

Whether you are presently dealing with a damaged suitcase due to baggage handling or facing an unexpected breakage, this guide is here to provide you with valuable insights and practical advice. 

Let’s dive in!

Rimowa damaged: Are airlines responsible for damaged luggage?

Damaged Rimowa Original Black
Damaged Rimowa

One of the most pressing questions regarding damaged luggage is determining who is responsible for the harm caused to your Rimowa suitcase. 

In general, airlines are responsible for damages that occur while your bag is under their control. This responsibility is backed by regulations set by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection division.

However, according to a survey conducted earlier by AirHelp, a service that assists passengers in obtaining compensation for airline claims, more than 87 percent of U.S. travelers do not file claims against airlines following an issue with lost, damaged, or delayed luggage. 

The reason they don’t include:

  • They don’t know they are entitled to compensation
  • They are not aware of their rights
  • They do not know how to file a claim.

Now that you know you can file claims against airlines if your luggage gets damaged under their care, it is crucial that you understand that airlines’ definitions of damage may differ from passengers’ definitions. 

Note that normal wear and tear, including scratches, scuff marks, stains, dents, and dirt, are generally not covered. 

Also, airlines reserve the right to deny claims for damage caused by overstuffed bags, poor-quality bags, or damage incurred during check-in.

However, damages to luggage components such as wheels, handles, and straps and more conspicuous problems like holes or cracked hard-side cases are covered. These types of damages are typically eligible for reimbursement or repair.

It’s crucial to understand the specific policies of the airline you are traveling with and to be aware of your rights as a passenger to ensure you have a strong compensation case. 

Who pays for the repairs if a Rimowa is damaged on a flight? 

As aforementioned, airlines are generally liable for the damages caused to your luggage while it is under their control. This means that if your Rimowa suitcase is damaged during a flight, you have the right to seek reimbursement or repair from the airline.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection division states that airlines must either repair damaged bags or provide compensation for the repairs. 

Similarly, if you are a European, the European Consumer Centres states that an airline has to reimburse you for damages up to the amount of necessary expenses you can prove to have incurred — up to approximately €1,600 per passenger (Montreal Convention). 

If your damage is less than €1,600, you will only be entitled to reimbursement for the amount of your loss. But, if the damage is severe and your carry-on bag cannot be repaired, the airline should replace it with a similar bag or offer reimbursement based on the bag’s value and depreciation.

While it is exciting to know this, it’s essential to be aware that liability limits are in place. 

For domestic flights within the United States, the maximum liability for a lost, delayed, or damaged bag is generally capped at $3,500.

For domestic flights within the United States, the maximum liability for a lost, delayed, or damaged bag is generally capped at $3,500. But, on international flights, the liability limit is typically around $1,600, as the Montreal Convention specifies. 

It’s worth noting that airlines are not obligated to pay more than these limits, although they may choose to do so in some instances.

Where should you report that your Rimowa has been damaged?

baggae claims office
baggae claims office

If your cherished Rimowa suitcase has been damaged during a flight, promptly report the incident to the Baggage Claim Office. 

Promptly Reporting the damage ensures that your claim is documented and increases the likelihood of a successful resolution.

What proof do you need to show?

When reporting the damage to your Rimowa suitcase, it’s important to provide the necessary proof to support your claim. 

While the specific requirements may vary slightly between airlines, here are some common types of proof you may need to show:

Proof of purchase

Having proof of purchase is essential to establish ownership and the value of your Rimowa suitcase. This can be in the form of a receipt, credit card statement, or any other document that clearly indicates the luggage purchase. 

Keep a copy of this proof, as it may be required during the claims process.

rimowa receipt

Baggage tags

luggage tag

Retain your baggage tags or claim checks that were provided to you when checking in your Rimowa suitcase. These tags serve as evidence that the airline was in possession of your Rimowa luggage and can help link the damage to the specific flight.

Photographic evidence

Take clear and detailed photographs of the damage to your Rimowa suitcase. Capture different angles and close-ups to document the extent of the harm. 

These images will provide visual evidence of the damage and support your claim. It’s advisable to take pictures as soon as you notice the damage.

You may also like: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Purchasing a Rimowa.

What to do when your suitcase gets damaged by an airliner?

If you observe that your suitcase has been roughly treated by the baggage handlers of an airliner with resultant damage to your luggage, follow the steps below to address the situation effectively. 

Report the damage immediately

Head to the airline’s baggage claim office immediately, preferably within the designated time frame (which varies by airline). For most domestic flights, you typically have up to 24 hours to report the claim, and seven days for international flights on most carriers. 

We recommend in-person reporting because it allows you to document the incident on-site and provides an opportunity to discuss the issue directly with airline representatives.

Ensure you have all necessary details and documentation regarding the damage.

Keep your baggage tags

Retain your baggage tags or claim checks that were provided to you when checking in your Rimowa suitcase at the airport. 

These tags serve as evidence that the airline was in possession of your luggage and can help link the damage to the specific flight. 

You can take the evidence gathering a bit further by taking clear photographs of the damage. 

Remain calm and courteous

While it can be frustrating to deal with damaged luggage, maintaining a calm and courteous demeanor when interacting with airline representatives will help facilitate the claims process.

Complete an Incident Report

Example baggage incident report

Request an incident report or damage report form from the airline’s representative. Fill out the form accurately, providing details about the damage, flight information, and personal contact information. 

Keep a copy of the completed report for your records.

Explore repair or replacement options

Depending on the extent of the damage, the airline may offer repair or replacement options. Discuss these possibilities with the airline’s representative and inquire about reimbursement for repair costs or obtaining a replacement suitcase.

Document expenses

If you need to purchase essential items due to the damage, keep receipts as evidence of the expenses incurred. Some airlines may consider reimbursing you for reasonable costs associated with the damaged suitcase.

Follow up

Stay in touch with the airline’s customer service or baggage claim department to track the progress of your claim. Maintain records of any communication, including names, dates, and details discussed.

You may also like: RIMOWA Outlet: Buying RIMOWA at a Discount.

Should you ask for your money back or a repair?

Whether or not you should request your money back or repair depends on the extent of the damage. A repair might be a suitable option if the damage is minor, such as scratches or cosmetic issues. 

However, if the damage is significant and affects the functionality or structural integrity of the suitcase, you might need to request a replacement or a refund. 

Be aware that refund policies vary among airlines and insurance providers, so it’s essential to review the terms and conditions to understand your eligibility for a refund.

Another option to consider is inquiring about the repair options available for your damaged Rimowa suitcase. 

Rimowa is known for its exceptional craftsmanship and offers repair services through authorized repair centers. If the repair is feasible and the cost is reasonable, consider opting for a repair to restore your suitcase to its original condition.

But, if the damage is extensive and the repair cost is prohibitively high, or if the airline or insurance company agrees to provide a replacement bag, requesting a new Rimowa suitcase might be a viable option. 

Ensure that you inquire about the model and specifications of the replacement to ensure it meets your needs and preferences.

Read about: How Using a Quality Suitcase (Rimowa) is the First Step to Responsible Travel.

What exactly is covered by the Rimowa warranty?

The Rimowa warranty offers assurance and peace of mind for customers who invest in their high-quality suitcases. 

Understanding what the warranty covers is essential to know your rights and potential course of action in case of damage. 

The following explains what Rimowa warranty covers:

Warranty duration

Rimowa provides a warranty that typically covers manufacturing defects and craftsmanship issues for a specific period. Examples of manufacturing defects may include broken handles, malfunctioning wheels, faulty locks, or structural problems.

The duration of the warranty can vary depending on the Rimowa product line. 

For example, suitcases purchased before July 25, 2022, have two options. If it was registered online, a 5-year guarantee applies, but if it was not, a 2-year warranty applies.

While the warranty provides comprehensive coverage for manufacturing defects on Rimowa bags, it’s crucial to be aware that it does not cover damage caused by mishandling, improper use, or normal wear and tear.

Scratches, scuffs, and cosmetic damage that do not affect the functionality of the suitcase are typically not covered. Additionally, unauthorized repairs or modifications can void the warranty.

Warranty claims process

If you believe your Rimowa suitcase has a manufacturing defect covered by the warranty, you should follow the specific claims process outlined by Rimowa. 

This typically involves:

  • Contacting a Rimowa dealer or an authorized Rimowa service center to inform them of the defect.
  • Hand over or send the product, along with the completed certificate of guarantee or original proof of purchase.

Rimowa may request additional information or assess the suitcase to determine if the damage falls within the warranty coverage.

Read also: What If My Rimowa Breaks Down? How Does the Rimowa warranty work?


Rimowa, renowned for its quality and craftsmanship, has become a trusted companion for globetrotters worldwide. 

However, despite their durability, even the sturdiest suitcases can fall victim to mishandling by airlines or unexpected accidents. 

That’s why understanding your rights and knowing what steps to take when your Rimowa suitcase is damaged on a flight is crucial.

Airlines are generally responsible for damaged luggage and should be notified immediately at the baggage claim office. 

It’s important to document the damage and keep all relevant receipts. 

Promptly reporting the incident increases the likelihood of a successful claim.

When it comes to seeking reimbursement or repairs, you can request either your money back or a repair for your damaged Rimowa suitcase. Consider the extent of the damage and your personal preference in making this decision!

To learn more about aluminum Rimowa suitcases and explore additional tips and insights, visit our: Rimowa How To and Tips page.