Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear Southwest Airlines

Yes, you.  Southwest Airlines.  Do I have your attention, now?  Since you won't allow me to correspond with you via email, you've forced me to take to my microphone to the world. 

Last Thursday I was headed from BWI to IND.  I had a 6:15 p.m. flight out.  I checked in at 5:01 p.m. and had my boarding pass in hand stating that we were on schedule and leaving at 6:15 p.m. 
At 5:02 p.m. I received a text from Southwest saying that we were delayed to 9:15 p.m. 

Then I received a text from Southwest saying that we were delayed to 9:35 p.m.
Then I received a text from Southwest saying that we were delayed to 10:10 p.m.
It was 12:30 a.m. when I took my VERY WET luggage off of the luggage carousel at IND. 
It was 2:00 a.m. when I got home.  Because certain items were red and the red had bled onto other items in my bag I was forced to start a load of laundry.

The next day I was returning this book
to my local library.  As I flipped through the book I noticed that half of the book and the back cover were soaked through.  I took the book to the counter and was told there was a distinct possibility that I might have to pay the replacement value of $27.00 for the book.  At that point the book was turned over for evaluation by the library.
I returned to my office and sent Southwest an email via their website telling them of the possibility of a claim.  I received an automated email saying someone would contact me. 

Here is the email from Claude with Southwest:

Dear Cheryl,

We were sorry to learn that you found your item(s) damaged when you opened your checked bag.

Southwest Airlines requires that Customers report any damage to checked luggage within four hours after arrival of the flight on which the damage is alleged to have occurred. We have this provision to our Contract of Carriage in place to ensure that we accept liability only for loss or damage that occurred while the item was in our care. The more time that lapses between a Customer's flight and the time that loss or damage is reported, the greater the chance that, oftentimes unbeknownst to the Customer, loss or damage occurred while the item was outside of our care or immediate supervision. After reviewing our records, we have no indication that a claim was filed within the required timeframe[sic].

We regret any disappointment that this policy may cause.


Claude, Southwest Airlines
Once again, there was no way to respond to the email.
When I checked my bags, they were not soaking wet.  The temperature was one hundred degrees.  It was not raining.  Not only were my bags not soaking wet- they were not wet at all.  When I took them off of the carousel at IND they were soaked.  Both bags.  Totally soaked.  The library book and another book that belonged to me were in the bottom of my bag.  The very bottom of the bag.  That is how wet the contents of the bag were.  While we were waiting to depart, there was a torrential thunderstorm.  Apparently our bags were loaded on the tram waiting to go onto the plane that wasn't there yet.  WHY would Southwest leave our bags sitting in the rain?  I was headed home after a week with family.  What if I were flying to a business meeting or a wedding? 
And although I loved Steve Martin's Object of Beauty, I wasn't going to buy it.  That is why I borrowed it from the library.  I am buying it now.  I paid $332.00 for my ticket with Southwest.  Despite all that was completely soaked, all I asked them to do was to reimburse the $27.00 that I have to pay to the library for the replacement value of the book. 
If you are reading this now, please learn from what happened to me- you have four hours to make your claim.  IF this ever happens to me again I will dump my bags right then and there on the Southwest counter. 

Here is a message from another disgruntled customer with a different airline:

Previously, I loved Southwest because you could check two bags without additional charges and because it was direct between IND and BWI.  Now I just feel frustrated with them.  I realize that $27.00 is not the end of the world but it is for that reason exactly that I don't understand why they can't reimburse for such a small amount of money.


ain't for city gals said...

Sounds like this should be a "This Ain't Right" post like I did Wed....I have been fond of SW also ...I hope this is not a sign of the times for them..

Karen said...

Oooh boy... hate when THAT happens...

Kris said...

That stinks! Shame on them for not taking care of this for you!!!!

farmlady said...

Always gotta read the fine print.... if you can find it.
I'm surprised that you got a response. I'm not surprised that you were unable to write or call back. It's the way business is done these days. No kind family companies anymore. All business... no give and take.... no exceptions.
It's only beginning...

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

This would make me so mad . . the world is changing, that's for sure. You were lucky to even get a response. You know when my middle son moved to Wisconsin last year, he was departing from Ontario airport and he forget he had his Grandpa's vintage boy scout pocket knife in his backpack from an earlier fishing trip and of course airport security took it right away and he begged them to let him call a family member to pick it up and they already had disposed it in a metal container at the terminal and claimed the container could not be opened. Talking about being frustrated. Sandy:O)

Privet and Holly said...

You go, girl!
Raise your fist
for the rest of
us!!! ARGH!
I always thought
that SW was a cut
above this sort of
nonsense. Replacing
that book will be
nearly 10% of the
cost of your plane
ticket : ( And who
is going to stand in
line and make a claim
at 12:30AM in the
xx Suzanne

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Commie bastards! Let's stick potatoes up their mufflers!

Holly said...

That's awful! And what about those people that get their luggage and have to drive several hours to their destinations? They wouldn't realize that their stuff was damaged in time either. makes me wo mad when companies don't allow you to repsond to their emails.

K.T. said...

My brother has a photo of his bags on a luggage tram sitting in the rain waiting to get loaded onto a Southwest airplane.

Why couldn't they just drive it under cover?

I don't get it. I am not a Southwest fan. I used to fly them all the time, then I compared their prices to the other airlines and the little I save is never worth the stress that Southwest causes.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Airline travel - your life is out of your own hands for as long as they have you. And they do have you! Stinks, let's just say. Glad you did get home safe though.

Donna said...

Do you have any update from Southwest? When something like that happens to me, it becomes my personal hobby until I get some action.
How frustrating!

KleinsteMotte said...

Surely your bags were not the only ones! They should have notified you of their mistake!!! The baggage handlers should have notified the captain because the bags had a weight change. If all their bags were heavier that could result in a big weight change. Captains rely on accurate info regarding weight! I think you should make a bigger fuss!! Safety??

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