i also go to great lengths to make sure i am on a thru flight. no plane changes. and i get to the airport super early. freakishly early. i dont want some baggage handler that can care less, trying to hurry my things to a waiting plane.
i have a friend that goes to the airport a day early and drops off his gear. it is gone early. he has never had a problem. it is waiting there in a locked cage for him. no way.
I can tell you that golf clubs, bow cases, and extra items like this are the first things that get taken off airplanes for weight reasons.
To a baggage handler suitcases and clothes are more important than extraneous items like this… however to the person that needs that item it is pretty darn important.
I found this out the hard way when I flew to play in a golf tournament… you guessed it… they left my clubs off of the flight because of weight.
I told them they could have taken off my suitcase and I would have gladly bought a new toothbrush and change of clothes… I can’t just go out and replace my golf clubs!!