Shortly before Christmas in 2017, I was flying from the US to Germany. I had a layover in London and my connecting flight would be on a Lufthansa flight from London to Munich. As it is only a very short flight, I booked an Economy Class seat.
I arrived early at the airport to check in and drop my checked bag. All my valuable items are in my carry-on as I know exactly how airlines treat your checked bags. They throw it around, in the plane, off the plane, and onto the carts to bring it to baggage claim. I have witnessed that too many times from the plane window myself. After I was checked in, I had to wait for the security lines actually to open, as they were still closed. After security screening, I spend some time in a lounge and then headed to the gate for my flight to Munich.
The line was long and I was one of the first one to board in Economy Class. Once I reached the counter, the agent scanned my boarding pass and then denied access to the plane because I was only allowed one carry-on plus one personal item. I had a backpack with my camera gear and a small roller laptop bag. I travel with the same exact configuration all year long and I know either one would fit under the seat in front of me for a fact.
But the agent refused to let me bring my bags aboard even tho I was within the limits. He demanded that I gate check one of the items. I told them that both of them had my expensive gear inside. One with all my camera gear and the other bag with my laptops and travel documents also worth a couple thousand dollars.
He said there is no chance to board with both items. The overheads cant be full at that time because I was one of the first in Economy. There was plenty of space left in the overhead when I finally boarded after leaving one bag behind.
I asked the gate agent if the bag was insured if they gate checks it and his answer was only I can take that up with Lufthansa later on. He didn’t ask me to remove any fragile or expensive items. Well, it was probably not necessary to tell me, as I already told him that the gear in there is wort over 10k USD.
So I boarded the plane and made the decision to leave my backpack behind. I just didn’t want to leave all my important documents with the airline, like passport and government ID.
After a short flight, I arrived in Munich, I picked up my bags, including my backpack, at the baggage claim and everything looked alright. I went to the rental car counter and left the airport.
The next few days I was busy with meeting family and friends as I haven’t seen them in a year. The other day I wanted to get my camera ready to take pictures. I opened the backpack and it hit me. The airline broke my expensive Canon L lens of my camera body. It was in multiple pieces right where it mounts to the camera. I was shocked! Luckily it just broke the lens of the mount on the lens side, instead of ripping out the mount from the camera body. Then not only a $1200 dollar lens would be destroyed, but also a $2600 dollar body. I had to clean my camera sensor as lots of dust got inside because of the broken lens.