High power laser diodes have been continuously gaining more practical applications. In the majority of these applications, device performance is a determining factor. However, device reliability determines whether a laser diode can be successfully introduced in a commercial product. We review some device reliability problems and their solutions found through customer experience while supplying packaged high power AlGaAs/GaAs quantum well laser diodes, utilized in medical, high resolution printers. The reliability problems were related to either photo-induced chemical reactions on the output facet leading to visible optical damage or the propensity of the material to rapidly develop dark line defects. To improve the reliability of high power laser diodes, we have performed numerous aging studies, followed by detailed failure mode analysis. Both hermetically packaged devices and devices exposed to air ambient were evaluated. The devices whose parameters deteriorated during aging were examined with optical microscopy, infrared microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Auger spectroscopy, residual gas analysis and also electron beam induced current. We report the results of the failure mode analysis and suggest solutions to eliminate failures of high power laser diodes.