United's Lost And Found Sounds Like A Good Place To Score Free iPhones

Jason is one of those people who loses things all the time. He must be like Santa Claus to the people working for United at the San Francisco International Airport, because when he passes through their terminal, he leaves awesome presents behind. We can’t say for certain that a United employee stole his iPhone, but the last he heard of its whereabouts, it had been found by United crew members and was on its way to their Lost and Found—which won’t return his calls or emails.

I recently took a business trip to Shangahi, China (an incredible experience). On my flight home (United Flight 0858) March 6th, 2009 I had a layover in SFO and then another domestic flight to JFK. After a 13 hour flight I was eager to get off the plane and breathe but in my haste left my iPhone on my seat.

I lose/leave stuff a lot so I have developed a habit of constantly checking my pockets for my things. As soon as I left the secured area, (before having to re-enter the security zone for the domestic leg of the trip) I realize my phone is not with me. I go back through security and to the gate the plane will be departing from in a few hours. There is no attendant at the desk and my connecting flight is boarding.

I pick up the courtesy line and try to contact a United rep but I am greeted with an incomprehensible telephone robot. I have a friend with me with a 4 hour layover and he offers to try to recover my phone.

I board my flight land in JFK and use a payphone to contact my friend. He informs me that United found the phone (which was confirmed by multiple employees). They took it from the plane into their lost and found. Unfortunately, it took them more than 3 hours to complete this process and my friend could not retrieve it. No worries, I’ll just get it back through their lost item claim process…right?


The United SFO Lost and Found consists of a voicemail box (where you leave a message desperately pleading for your item back) and an inbox which I assume also is completely unmonitored. So far I’ve left several voicemail messages (2 per week) and multiple e-mails. I’ve contacted the general SFO lost and found and there is nothing they can do for me.

I don’t want to get into blame game (as I am the creator of this situation) I just want my property returned to me after they acknowledged they had it. This will be my third iPhone that I’ve lost or destroyed and I honestly can’t take another hit. I want my phone back, they said they have it, and I have no idea what to do.

Jason, maybe it’s time you ask Graham Atkinson’s office to help you. At the very least, they should be able to find a human to answer your questions—unless they’re disconnecting that too in a couple of weeks.

If you end up buying a fourth iPhone, you might want to consider buying a case for it that can be strapped to your body. (That should prove amusing at the security gate.)
(Photo: snappybex)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.