On 26 September, while returning to my home after doing military duty in Providence, R.I. at the War College, I checked my luggage through TSA. TSA never opened my luggage there for you are required to stand-bye until it clears the x-ray machine. I observed the Southwest employee take my luggage so it could be sent down too the plane for loading. While in Providence, I had about an hour and a half wait for Flight 290 to Chicago. I had a stop at Chicago Midway Airport for about an hour for Flight 266 and then preceded onto Tucson, AZ. Upon arriving in Tucson, I noticed that my luggage has been opened. After inspecting my luggage, I discovered that all my military police gear has been stolen, except for my duty belt. This consisted of two handcuffs, SOG EOD multi-tool with case, cuff key (long version), and a Cabelas 9v Flashlight (Same style as the Surefire 9P.). I talked to the Baggage Claim Officer of Southwest at the Airport in Tucson and got a report number and that is: [protected].
Over the next several days, I contacted TSA and they said there would have been no reason for TSA to re-inspect my luggage in Chicago since it had been x-ray-ed in Providence, R.I. I made contact with several people at Southwest with one being a “Sue Ann Larsen” telling me she would email me the forms and info on filing a claim with Southwest. I never did hear from her or get the email, and my last contact with Southwest out of Dallas, said Southwest will probably not do anything about replacing the stolen items for they are only responsible for the outside part of the luggage. This is not acceptable at all. I know Southwest contracts out its luggage handling, however that does still make them responsible for the actions of their contractors. Enclosed is a copy of what is would cost for me to replace the items stolen and that is: $208.13.
Now this is the letter that I sent to Southwest Airlines. Below was their response.
We realize that perhaps the single most frustrating experience - for both the Customer and the
airline - is when a Customer finds something missing from their checked piece of luggage. When this
happens, the ideal solution would be to offer recompense for the loss - unlimited liability simply
can not be justified.
On a daily basis, we accept sight unseen thousands of bags for transport, and theoretically,
everyone that checks a bag could file a missing article report. There are certain policies that we must
follow when resolving a baggage claim. Unless there is evidence that a bag has been improperly
handled (delay in delivery or signs of exterior damage), we do not accept financial responsibility for
missing articles. We make every effort possible to locate the property but if neither of these conditions
were a factor in the reported loss; unfortunately, we are unable to accept liability.
You may however have recourse through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Under their direction, all checked luggage must undergo some form of screening and in some cases;
federal screeners will open the bag as part of the screening process. When there is a need to open a
bag, the TSA screeners exercise great care to ensure that the contents are properly returned to the
bag and a written notification is placed inside or a plastic tag is secured to the outside of the bag. In
the event of loss or damage, TSA will assess, on an individual basis, claims that are made to their
office. If you have questions and wish to pursue your claim, you should immediately call the TSA
Consumer Response Center toll-free at [protected]. To protect your rights under Federal law,
you must submit your information in writing to their office at the following address:
TSA Claims Management Office
601 South 12th Street - TSA 9
Arlington, VA 22202
Hopefully, you will be able to understand our position in this matter and will not allow this
experience to permanently tarnish your image of our airline. You are a valued Customer, your
patronage and confidence are equally important to us and we look forward to the opportunity to serve
I hate to say it but they did not ever read my letter for I addressed the TSA issue from the start. If Southwest can not protect our luggage, and will not replace the stolen items that their contractors stole from us. How can we trust them at all? I have since wrote to the FAA, and to two member of my state representatives in Washington to help resolve this matter. In addition, I am going through official channel with the military to see if there is something they can do.