Viral Outrage: Delta Baggage Handlers Toss NCAA Golf Team’s Clubs In Shocking Video

There’s an old saying about there being just two kinds of luggage, carry-on and lost. That’s not true. The third kind is damaged.

The East Tennessee State Men’s Golf Team shared video of how the golf clubs they checked with Delta were being handled while enroute to the NCAA Championships. Millions of views later the world knows how these contractors tossed their clubs onto the tarmac before being picked up and tossed onto the baggage cart. They could have carried the bags, but the ground forcefully became an intermediary stop.

This is a physically challenging job, but this is the job, and there should be standards. Usually it’s only when they’re filmed that they get called out. Airlines should better supervise the process.

In some ways it’s not fair to call out Delta here because you’ll find the same care with all U.S. airlines. This isn’t Japan.

Here’s a frustrated American Airlines passenger watching while a baggage handler plays ‘bowling with luggage’ out on the ramp.

Here baggage handlers can be seen sliding a wheelchair down a luggage chute hard enough to crash it and flip it over. The passenger taking video was prompted to start filming after this had happened to the second wheelchair and after they were seen ‘laughing’ over it.

Many things can happen to your bags once you give up control at the check-in counter. A baggage handler might steal a birthday present out of your luggage.

At British Airways a memo had to go out asking staff not to urinate in the cargo holds of their planes.

If your bag makes it to its destination there may not be anyone to meet it as it comes down the chute. Or it might reach baggage claim only to find a geyser of water spraying up from the floor next to the carousel.

Alaska Airlines offers a 20 minute bag guarantee, and so does Delta, but you only get miles if your bag is late, not if it’s destroyed. And what if a baggage handler hides cocaine in it?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Airports need to have cameras in these areas with TV monitors on in the airport. The more public watching the less damage

  2. For only another 100,000 SkyMiles the golf club bags could have received “Premium” treatment and merely tossed into the baggage cart…

  3. Fake news…nothing bad EVER happens at the universe’s #1 PREMIUM airline!

  4. Can we all get a grip, please? If the profiteers increased maintenance and ground support wages and staffing AND cut a few duplicate flights, the whole operation could go more smoothly and the young white men’s sports equipment could be handled better.

  5. I thought the golf clubs are in a padded bag , so there would be no damage , no ?

  6. What does the color of the golf team have to do with how their bags are handled?
    You racist idiot!

  7. Your comments about the wheel chair are just wrong. The handler didn’t send it down the chute wrong. The chair didn’t have enough friction to slow it down. When it hit the bumper, being top heavy, it flipped over the bumper.

    Only other option is to hand carry down the stairs.

  8. @Doig. Pretty sure handling policies cover items like wheelchairs and there’s a list of such items that they are specifically NOT supposed to chuck down the chute. That bumper at the bottom is clearly only intended to stop box-like items, luggage/packages/etc. Walking stuff like chairs down that many stairs would be a royal pain, I can’t imagine they don’t have a service lift or elevator… It’s probably that they only have a few, and these guys were too lazy to walk them to the nearest lift…

  9. To JoMarie Acosta: Whether these two clowns are Delta employees or not, their actions are inexcusable. IF they are Delta employees, they will receive a stern reprimand or termination. As far as pay goes, IF they are Delta employees, they received a 10.4% profit sharing check (which amounts to about a month’s salary) on February 14th followed by a 5% across the board pay raise about a month ago. So, get your facts straight when it comes to pay and benefits. Additionally, your comments about “young white men” is totally out of line. What both of your comments reflect are ignorance (the salary comment) which can be fixed by facts and stupidity (the “white boy” comment) which is forever.

  10. This shouldn’t ever happen to any baggage or checked item. Hearing about wheelchairs being abused, damaged or destroyed is effing horrible. People need those to live their lives… But hearing about golf clubs being mishandled, it’s more like, “meh.. that sucks… But oh well, it’s friggin golf clubs that college kids need to play a game.”.

  11. Morons should have pulled the bag cart forward to unload at the belt. Work smarter not harder.

  12. Not sure what’s the issue here. The handler was throwing the golf bags towards the loader in the form one would expect. Do you honestly think these guys are going to treat your heavy bulky bags as if they are precious and filled with Tiffany lamps? If so, umm, don’t check your bag filled with Tiffany lamps. As usual lately, this is a huge stretch, Gary.

  13. Not funny especially the wheelchair video. I’ve had customs throw my suitcase to the floor right in front of me. Had I said something, all my baggage would have been gone through a thorough & not so tidy inspection. Little man on a uniform power trip.

    So what was the outcome? Was their equipment damaged?
    Has Delta investigated this?
    I have read before about wheelchair damage. Inexcusable & immediate termination for any employee damaging a wheelchair. Don’t want to work? I’m sure your position can be quickly be filled.

  14. Isn’t baggage handlers at most airports employed by third party contractors that work for several airlines? I’m pretty sure they are at my home airport.

  15. Luggage is meant to protect the contents. No airline or cargo company (UPS, FEDEX, etc) is going to hand carry items like this from one point to another. Luggage with wheels is meant to be rolled. Granted, the DL employees could have moved the cart closer to the bag belt.

  16. I started carrying a military style heavy canvass duffel bag again because it seems to take the rough handling better. It is annoyingly worse to carry and resists slinging. I put a backpack in it and the combination is still a couple kilos lighter than a 25 inch roller bag.

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