TSA and Southwest Need to Get Their Acts Together

by Francine on April 6, 2013

This is a pathetic story of the TSA and  Southwest Airlines baggage handling, neither of whom has any concern for the customer. But I am not one of those polite senior citizens who takes everything lying down. Rather, I’m an expert in customer service and marketing, and I know what SHOULD have been done.

A month ago, I bought my son-in-law a new laptop. I had it sent to my home in Phoenix, because I knew he was coming to visit me to paint my house. Today he left to go back home, after making my house look beautiful and being away from my daughter for three weeks. It was a labor of love for which a new laptop was small compensation.

He packed the laptop into his laptop case. In the case he also put several other breakable items: two jars of hummus spice from the local Middle Eastern bakery that my daughter begged us to get for her, and a jar of organic peanut butter.

He checked his two other bags, and carried the laptop on. Or at least he tried to. When he got to TSA, they told him that because the jars looked like a powdery substance (garlic, lemon juice, salt, etc), he couldn’t carry it on. They suggested he check his laptop case. Obediently, he went back down to the ticket counter, where they charged him $75.00 to check the case, because it was a third bag.

When he boarded, he watched the baggage being loaded, and saw that the baggage handlers had opened the flap of his laptop case — the one with his new machine in it. He worried. He even told the flight attendant what he had seen, and she assured him that everything would be fine.

But when he arrived, he looked in the case, and the laptop screen was shattered.

He spoke to the people at Southwest baggage claim, who sneered and told him they had been doing this for nineteen years, it was written in their policies that they were not responsible for electronic devices, and that maybe if he called central baggage claim he could get his $75 back.

Heartsick, I tried to call them and plead our case. They were closed, and the message said to call back during “normal business hours.”

This behavior toward travelers is unconscionable. We pay for the ticket and get treated like shit. It’s time for this to stop.

Please help me by forwarding to anyone at Southwest you know.

UPDATE: Someone named @southwestVerity saw my tweet and alerted Southwest management. They have refunded my son-in-lsw’s ticket and baggage fees, which gives us the money to replace his laptop. Thank you, Southwest; I knew I fly you all the time for a reason! You’re the only airline that seems to care.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler Hurst April 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

If someone broke my laptop, I’d likely be arrested for breaking something of theirs. Assholes.

How in the hell can we be legally required to check bags yet have no recourse if something is broken or stolen?

If you could guarantee my bag would arrive on time with the contents secure, I’d check my bag every damn time and probably save flight attendants a lot of hassle.

This is absolute bullshit.

Amanda April 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

there are simply no circumstances under which I will be separated by my laptop, but even then, Southwest isn’t a great friend. On one flight, I had my laptop case in overhead, and though I usually keep an eye on it, on one flight, the attendant insisted on managing the bin instead of letting us do it and threw something heavy on top of the bag, shattering the glass. Southwest couldn’t have been less interested, luckily it was under warranty, from the company I bought it from (accidental), from my AAA membership and my travlers insurance, which I buy yearly. I wasn’t out of pocket, but I was out 3-4 days while I waited for the replacement and a lot of phone call aggravation.

I think the point is this: you are LITERALLY the only person responsible for your things while on a flight w an American airline. Don’t be separated from your stuff, and be fiercely watchful and protective of it while its not in your hot little hands.

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