Hurray! Consumerist Helps Reader Find Laptop Left On American Airlines Flight

While running the gauntlet of the daily grind, one can get caught up in everything that can go wrong for a consumer, which is why we downright love it when something goes right. And if we can help a tiny bit, that’s nice, too. Rachael writes that her friend lost his laptop on a recent flight, and she immediately thought of Consumerist.

Rachael’s pal was returning home from Fort Riley, Kansas on an American Airlines flight to spend Christmas with his family after getting out of the Army. She says his flight arrived late, and he left his laptop at his seat when he got off the plane. He wasn’t allowed back on to retrieve it, and instead was given an email address and phone number to follow up.

So close to the holidays, he kept reaching dead ends, and Rachael writes that he was sick over losing the laptop, which had his whole life on it. That’s where her consumer savvy kicked in.

He told me this story over New Year’s dinner at his parents house and I immediately thought of the Consumerist. I was able to find quite a few American Airlines executive email addresses and sent them an email with my friend’s name, flight, and seat information and a description of the laptop, along with a plea that someone with the power to help do so as phone calls were not being returned and emails to customer service told him that nothing could be done.

Within one day, I was directed to American Airlines staff at the connection airport he’d lost the computer. They confirmed that they had it and asked for my friend’s phone number and address so they could ship it back to him via FedEx. They shipped it Friday and sent me the tracking number and my elated friend was so giddy with happiness that he could barely speak when he called me just moments ago to say he’d received it back.

On behalf of my friend and his family, thank you American Airlines for the help and thank you Consumerist for the information needed!

Of course, you’re welcome Rachael — we’re just glad everything worked out. Another happy reminder that the Executive Email Carpet Bomb can be your best friend in a tight situation.


Edit Your Comment

  1. PHRoG says:

    Good job Rachael!

    Next step, talk to him about backing up his life, while he may be more prudent about losing his laptop in the future, the drive WILL fail and his life will be gone with it and no carpet bomb is going to get it back. ;)

  2. Shappie says:

    …and why can’t a staff member just go back onto the plane and take 30 seconds to look? I know airports are busy, but they have to clean up and ‘reset’ the plane anyways, why not just grab the laptop then and save EVERYONE involved in this story a big headache???

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      They have to check ebay first and see if it’s worth stealing.

      • Happy Dad says:

        Yeah they’re full of shit. They either were too lazy or someone wanted to steal it.

        I hope someone talks to him about backups. He must not have had a chance that yet.

  3. sufreak says:

    I can’t understand why we have to go to these measures to retrieve an item immediately from a plane. Why are these calls and emails unanswered?

    • Jevia says:

      Exactly. While its great that the EEB worked, why is it necessary in the first place? Why can’t American (or really any airline) train its people to respond to calls and emails? Why can’t American (or really any airline) train its people at the gate to take 5 minutes to go check the airplane and avoid the need for further calls and emails?

      That said, its great that the laptop was found, not stolen/sold by someone else, and returned to its owner. Shame that but for the EEB, said laptop would have languished for a time (before being taken home by someone eventually) because other customer service people didn’t do their job.

    • Starrion says:

      How many EECB’s will it take before executives realize that the outsourced, read-from-script, customer non-service centers they have set up are not worth the extremely low-cost they are paying for them?

      • Snoofin says:

        No amount of EECBs will do that until people stop being such cheap asses demanding $300 computers. The only way they can sell them that cheap is to have crappy unhelpful customer service. If they had good knowledgeable US based tech support it would add a couple hundred dollars to the cost of most electronics, then everyone will bitch that things cost too much. Its the reason some companies are selling premium support when you buy something but even then people dont want to pay for it.

  4. Dallas_shopper says:

    AWESOME! Love it when things go right. Hopefully the OP’s friend will learn the value of regular, frequent backups. ;-)

  5. Shouhdes says:

    I blame the OP

  6. Steve says:

    When arriving back from Boston, our son left his iPod in the seat back of the Airtran flight we were on. He only realized this when we at baggage claim. We talked to the baggage claim people, who called the gate people. They went back on the plane, and found the iPod. The baggage claim woman went back to the gate to get the iPod for us. There are still some airline workers who will go out of the way for you.

  7. AllanG54 says:

    And this is why I still get regular statements and bills and rarely pay things on line. True, they’re not much more safe than my computer but at least they’re less likely to get lost or stolen.

  8. razremytuxbuddy says:

    Wow. I should have contacted Consumerist when I walked off my AA flight without my smartphone. I immediately knew I left it on the plane, but could get no meaningful cooperation. I never did get it back, even with weeks of trying to accomplish something with AA’s lost and found. AA’s lost and found system is completely broken. They just plain don’t care.

  9. Tcon04 says:

    very similar experience just happened to me last week. i’m in the process of trying to get Am Airlines to return my laptop, which they *had* in their possession. Long story, but the Am Airlines staff at DFW actually had the nerve to repeatedly admonish me during the traumatizing situation. Time for an exec email.