Kaila and her family were excited about traveling to California just before Christmas for a Disney vacation at the Disneyland Resort and to visit other West Coast California theme parks. Since they were there just before the holidays, the family had also planned to do some of their Christmas shopping in the parks and looked forward to bringing home some unique gifts to give to friends and family for the holidays.
But that excitement quickly faded when the El Paso, Texas, family returned home from their trip via Southwest Airlines to the El Paso International Airport. After disembarking their plane, the family headed to baggage claim and waited to grab their luggage and head home.
According to the family, their military-spec luggage appeared at the baggage claim turnstile, but it looked nothing like it did when they dropped it off at the airport in California. In fact, the family spotted a large trash bag with a tag number that matched the number on their luggage. It had a large tear in it, and items the family purchased on their Disney vacation were spilling out of it.
The luggage, which had been full of items they’d purchased at the Disneyland Resort and at other California theme parks, was now a destroyed mess.
Kaila and her family were completely shocked.
They gathered up their luggage and the trash bag and made their way to the offices of Southwest Airlines to find out what had happened. There they were told that there had been an accident with their items. A piece of their luggage had been run over, and the contents inside it had spilled onto the tarmac.
While in the Southwest Airlines office at El Paso International Airport, Kaila’s father opened up the trash bag to find only bits and pieces of new shirts and dresses they’d purchased, Mickey Mouse outfits, toys, and other items they’d bought on their trip.
In a video taken by Kaila’s father, a representative for Southwest Airlines can be seen helping him put the destroyed fragments of their gifts into another bag. Another employee for Southwest Airlines told Kaila’s father that the airline would pay the family $250 in exchange for the bag, but they would have to choose; they couldn’t take the money and the bag with them.
That didn’t please Kaila’s father.
“It’s over $1,000 in gifts,” he says to the Southwest Airlines employee as he holds up the remnants of a Pizza Planet shirt and a Stormtroopers hat. “It’s a couple days before Christmas I have to go to the Disney Parks to get those items, you can’t get them online, you can’t get them at the Disney Store. I can’t have another dress made for my daughter two days before Christmas.”
KTSM in El Paso, which first shared this story, reached out to Southwest Airlines to get the airline’s take on the situation. An employee with the company said that Southwest Airlines has been in contact with the family and is working to resolve the issues.
According to KTSM, the representative also said that the airline has offered the family a travel voucher, good to use on another trip via Southwest Airlines in the future.
But what about all the Christmas gifts that couldn’t be wrapped and given to friends and family this year?
Have you ever had your luggage ruined because of an incident at the airport? Let us know what the airlines did to make things right and what you think Southwest Airlines should do for this family in the comments.