Reader Mike cc’d us on a complimentary email to Southwest Airlines, which is something that usually doesn’t happen when the words “lost and found” are involved. Long story short— he lost his camera and the airline lost his bags — but he managed to get everything back with a minimum of effort. Lucky guy!
Mike writes (to Southwest Airlines):
I recently flew via Southwest for the first time. The Trip from Chicago, IL to Amarillo, TX went quite well, although I had a few problems that were quickly remedied by Southwest, and as such, I feel that you should know this. My first problem was caused by me, and was in no way your fault; I left my camera sitting at the gate in Amarillo, TX. I only realized this 30,000 feet above Texas, when it was far too late to go back and get my camera.
Since I had a connecting flight in Denver, the first thing I did when I arrived was to go to the ticketing agent at my gate in Denver, to see if she could help me at least determine if my bag had been found (which I suspected it had, as the TSA seems to dislike unattended bags). She tried calling Baggage Services at Amarillo, which surprised me, as I expected her to just give me the phone number there, and send me on my way. She was unable to contact them, but was able to give me 2 phone numbers, one for Baggage Services in Amarillo, and another that was Southwest’s 800 number. First, I tried calling Baggage Services, and received no response, so I left a voice mail message with my name, phone number, and a description of the problem I had. I then called the 800 number she gave me which was Southwest’s main line. There I was directed to another representative that also tried, unsuccessfully, to reach Amarillo, to inform them of the lost bag. In the end, she was only able to take my information, and file a lost and found report, as well as post a message about the missing bag. All told, this only took me about a half an hour of my time; although at this point, I fully expected to not get my camera back, but that was my own fault, and not the airline’s.
This is where my second problem occurred, after getting into Chicago (Midway), I waited at the baggage carousel for about 15 minutes (after waiting 20 minutes for one to be assigned to my flight), and after seeing all of the baggage come out, I went to the Midway Southwest baggage services, and filed a claim, which took about 5 minutes.
After all this, I call my dad, to tell him to come pick me up (he was waiting in one of the parking lots at Midway), and while I was waiting, I got a call from Baggage Services in Amarillo stating that they had found my camera, and they could ship it to me, although they needed a FedEx account number, because they needed to ship the camera, they couldn’t fly it. Hearing this, I was quite happy, and told them I would call back on Monday with a FedEx account number.
I make it home, and around 8PM that night, I receive another call from Southwest, this time from Midway baggage services, stating that they had found my checked baggage, and they could put it on a van for delivery that would be leaving Midway at 9PM that night, and the delivery window would be 2-4 hours. I told them that I wouldn’t be awake, and they said it would be fine to leave the signed baggage claim form on my porch, and they would just leave the bag there. Well, I ended up getting sidetracked while digging through my backpack for the claim form, and forgot to sign it and leave it on the porch. I realized this the next morning when I woke up; I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get my bag back, as I didn’t know whom to contact at Southwest about the bag. When I looked on my porch, my bag was there, they had left it, even in spite of my mistake, I had my luggage back, another pleasant surprise.
On Monday, I called back to the baggage services office in Amarillo, and gave them a FedEx account number, and the address they could ship the camera to. Although I asked for, and never received the tracking number, I did receive my camera from FedEx yesterday, and everything is still there in the bag, intact.