Southwest Denies Flyer’s Luggage Claim – Even With Evidence of Theft

Southwest Denies Flyer’s Luggage Claim – Even With Evidence of Theft

Joe Cortez

A flyer returning to Denver International Airport got a rude surprise upon arrival, from both a luggage thief and their airline. Although they had proof that their luggage was stolen from the carousel, Southwest Airlines denied their claim for the lost luggage.

When checking luggage, the expectation is that it will be at the carousel upon arrival waiting for the flyer. But the opposite happened to one traveler flying to Denver International Airport (DEN), and Southwest so far has refused to pay the claim on it. Denver FOX affiliate KDVR reports even though the flyer had concrete evidence their bags were stolen, Southwest initially said it was not their responsibility.

Luggage Thief Caught on Camera, But Southwest Refused to Pay Initial Claim

Cristal Outman of San Diego started her journey by checking her bags for free with Southwest on Aug. 9, 2020. She was traveling with her family: her parents, husband, and two small children. When they arrived at Denver, they were two bags short of what they checked.

As any flyer would do, they immediately filed a claim with Southwest Airlines. According to her take on the story, a customer service agent thought the bags were delayed, and allegedly told her family to buy new clothes to replace their missing ones, and file a claim with the receipts.

What Outman would find out is that her luggage was outright stolen. The bags belonged to Outman and her husband, and surveillance video showed a man coming up to the carousel, grabbing the bags, and getting away. Ultimately, 43-year-old Bruce Feaster was arrested for the theft, and police say he could be connected to four other theft cases. They were unable to get the Outman’s bags back.

After the incident, Outman filed a claim for $1,500 with Southwest Airlines for the cost of replacing the clothes. The airline initially denied the entire claim, saying she submitted some receipts incorrectly.

According to Southwest’s published policy online, the airline states their liability “in the case of lost, damaged, or delayed baggage is limited to $3,500.00 per fare-paying Customer.” In addition: “Damaged or lost baggage must be reported, in person, within four hours of Customer’s arrival at destination.” Outman says despite doing everything they were allegedly told, they felt like they were being robbed twice.

“According to Southwest Airlines they only need to say there is a discrepancy and that gives them the right to deny the claim,” Outman told KDVR. “They don’t have to explain why they deny the claim.”

Southwest to Re-Consider Claim After Report

Once KDVR got in touch with Southwest, the airline said in a statement that they would offer “our willingness to look at issues on a case-by-case basis.” Southwest confirmed to the television news team they would review Outman’s case for a second time, but they didn’t get a time commitment.

The Outman’s hope that Southwest will overturn their first decision and repay the $1,500 they spent on replacing their clothes. The story offers some key advice every flyer should follow: Always file a claim for lost or damaged luggage immediately, and get a copy of the policies you need to follow in writing before leaving the baggage office.