This happened in late last year, during the Christmas–New Year’s break.
Right after Christmas, Sarah and I took a two-day trip to San Diego. We elected to take the train from Los Angeles to San Diego, figuring that it would be a little cheaper and a lot more pleasant than driving. And, certainly, it was a great way to get down to San Diego. The views from the train are pretty great, at least during the day. There’s free beverages, WiFi and power ports, if you upgrade to business class. That gave me the opportunity to go through and publish the nearly 1,000 photos I took. And it only takes about two and a half hours, which isn’t bad considering the distance.
On the return trip, we checked our bags, and sure enough, there was almost no problem. It wasn’t delayed. It didn’t take a detour to Albuquerque. But it didn’t come back in the same condition. As you can see in the picture, the handle was torn. Not completely torn, however. It was hanging on by a thread, and it didn’t take much to rip it off completely.
In our haste to catch the connecting light rail train to Little Tokyo, we didn’t notice the damage until we arrived at the hotel. Since we left the station’s premises and didn’t raise a stink, we couldn’t make a claim against Amtrak for the damage. Oh well. That’s yet another travel lesson learned.
Update: It turns out that this particular Samsonite bag has a very stiff handle, making it prone to tearing with not much stress. A similar bags met the same fate by my pulling and twisting the handle.