This question is a new cross-post from the physics stack exchange: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/265884/can-a-decompressed-airplane-cargo-hold-cause-packaging-air-pads-to-burst-defla
I received a parcel from Germany to Chile. The contents were severely bruised due to a lack of packaging material. On second inspection I found a bunch of deflated air pads.
It was a personal shipment, the air pads were used and potentially not in pristine condition, but there were several brands of them, a manufacturing defect can be ruled out. It seems most of them burst, while at least one still had some air remaining and just had a leak that required a bit of pressure to release more air. Surprisingly there was very little air remaining, maybe 20% of the maximum volume.
The contents were light, I doubt they could have damaged a pad at all, let alone destroy them all. Could this phenomena be caused by a pressure difference between the air inside the packs and the cargo plane's hold? It seems a bad explanation considering the popularity of the packaging material.
I did check for needles and dead chicken. ;-)