Couple resolves dispute with airline over soiled luggage

- A day after FOX 4 News got involved in a dispute over soiled luggage, the Garland couple that was left holding the stinky bags says they've reached a resolution with Southwest Airlines.

The Cains say a baby carrier and three of their suitcases were transported in the belly of a plane arrived wet and with a foul smell.

Southwest initially said it was not liable for the damage due in part to how late the claim was filed.

READ MORE: Family says luggage on Southwest flight arrived covered in sewage

Erica Cain didn't go into details but says she talked to a Southwest Airlines representative Tuesday afternoon. Cain says she was assured the leak was not raw sewage and has agreed to a cash payout by the airline.

The positive outcome is a stark contrast to Monday when the couple was told by the airline it was not liable for the damage because, according to the Cains, they did not file a claim within the required four hour window period.

Southwest Airlines says the policy allows them to "better validate that the mishandling or damage was caused by the carrier" and added that the longer the time period, the harder it is to substantiate that the damage occurred while the bag was in the airline's possession.

The Cains, who were traveling for the first time with their 5-month-old baby, said Monday the window period isn't practical.

“We noticed that it has this foul smell to it, and immediately I thought to throw it into the laundry and see if we can do it ourselves. By this time, it's been four hours after our flight,” Erica said. “The four-hour time frame is just unrealistic for anyone who is traveling anywhere.”

As farecompare.com points out, Southwest is not the only airline with a four-hour reporting window. Spirit and JetBlue have a similar policy. Larger carriers, like American Airlines, give passengers 24 hours to report a baggage claim.

The problem is finding that important information can be tedious. Often times, it's buried inside a large document called "contract of carriage."

 

Below is a list of luggage policies from airlines compiled with the help of farecompare.com:

American https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/delayed-or-damaged-baggage.jsp

If you notice damage to your bags, see an agent before leaving the airport or contact us within 24 hours for domestic flights and 7 days for international flights.* We'll give you a 13-character file reference number to use when filing your claim.

Delta http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/after-your-trip/delayed-lost-or-damaged-https.html

You must report your claim within 24 hours for U.S. travel and seven days for international travel.

 

Alaska Air / Virgin American https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/baggage/baggage-claim/delayed-damaged-missing.aspx

Make a report in person of any irregularity concerning baggage to the Alaska Airlines baggage service office at your arrival airport within 24 hours of arrival time. Without a report, we'll have to deny compensation.

If you didn't file a report at the airport, you'll need to call the Alaska Airlines baggage service office at your arrival airport within 24 hours of arrival.

 

Southwest https://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/baggage_faq.html

If your baggage has been lost, damaged, or delayed, you must report this, in person, at the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office within four hours of your arrival at your destination. 

 

JetBlue http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webisapi.dll?New,Kb=askBlue,case=obj(2206)

If your baggage has been delayed or damaged, it's important to make a baggage claim with a JetBlue crewmember while you're at the airport. If you need to make the claim once you've left the airport, please call the JetBlue Baggage Service Office at your arrival airport within four (4) hours of landing.

 

Spirit https://customersupport.spirit.com/hc/en-us/articles/202096456-What-if-my-baggage-was-damaged-

We're very sorry if your bag is damaged while in our care. A report must be filed in person within 4 hours of arrival on Domestic flights. On international flights, if a report was not filed on arrival, in the case of damage, a report must be made within 7 days in writing. A claim should be submitted to the Luggage Resolution Department within 30 days of the date the report was filed. All claims must be sent via postal mail.   

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