i will be travelling to paris and rome this summer and was planning on taking a backpack rather than a suitcase.
a few years ago, while lugging my bags around, i noticed several different people in the Vancouver airport with clear plastic bags around their packs. they didnt look like rainwear, more like something they got from the airline to protect their luggage.
what is this bag and should i be worried about damage/break-ins to my pack?
i will be taking airfrance from chicago to paris and delta from rome home.
Some airlines suit your backpack in plastic.
I am not sure about Air France if they do it but on every larger airport you also find machines where you put in some dollars and get suiteed your rucksack.
Anyway, I have never used a machine like this and my backpack was alway well on arrival..
Airlines demanding that a backpack be covered has to do with liability primarily. Airport conveyor has a nasty habit of "eating" backpack shoulder straps, thus turning your internal frame pack into an akward duffel bag instead. A sub-category of the traditional internal frame pack is the "expeditiong pack" designed more for adventure travellers than for campers.
One of the common features of an expedition pack is that the straps can actually be zippered into a pocket of the backpack, thus making it acceptable to airlines concerned about liability.
Ye, I think the plastic bag is to keep your strap from getting caught on the conveyor belt on the way down to the ramp. As far as people breaking in to your bag, after 9/11 all bags should not be locked when check in, because beside being xrayed, they can also be randomly searched by security, after you checked them. So, if you locked your bag, and they don't have the key, they might have to tear it apart. That is why airlines (at least in the US) these days request that you don't lock your bags.