Stolen luggage claim denied by Southwest Airlines despite being caught on video

National

DENVER (KDVR) — When your luggage is lost or stolen at Denver International Airport, you are supposed to file a claim with your airline.

Since Cristal Outman, of San Diego, had a police report and even surveillance video of the crime, she figured her claim with Southwest Airlines would be straightforward.

“I feel like I’m getting robbed a second time. The first time we got robbed by the thief, and now we‘re getting robbed by Southwest Airlines,” Outman said.

The 44-year-old was traveling with her parents, her husband and their two small children on Aug. 9 when two of their suitcases went missing at the baggage carousel.

Outman said Southwest Airlines told her family to buy new clothes and file a reimbursement claim since it was Day 1 of a vacation.

At the time, Outman said Southwest assumed her bags had gotten lost in transit.

Instead, Outman tracked down airport surveillance video that showed a mask-wearing man walking away with two suitcases that belonged to Outman and her husband.

“When I saw that, it made complete sense to me as to why he thought he could get away with it. It was really hard to see anything other than his eyes,” said Outman.

Nonetheless, Denver police managed to arrest 43-year-old Bruce Feaster for theft after he was caught in the act in late August. Police have connected Feaster to four separate cases of baggage theft at DIA.

Outman said when she submitted her claim totaling $1,500.00 for the lost luggage and new clothes, her claim was denied.

“According to Southwest Airlines, they only need to say there is a discrepancy and that gives them the right to deny the claim,” said Outman. “They don’t have to explain why they deny the claim. I’m sure other people have just given up. I was not willing to.”

Southwest Airlines said Outman has improperly submitted some receipts, but it took her weeks of phone calls to get the airline to explain her mistake.

“The Southwest team prides itself on the hospitality we offer and our willingness to look at issues on a case-by-case basis to assist our customers. We are always happy to review again with the Customer through our Customer Service team,” Southwest Airlines said in an email when asked about Outman’s case.

Outman has yet to hear from the airline, but a spokeswoman for Southwest said that’s because the airline is still reconsidering her claim and promised to get back to her later this week.

Denver police said they were not able to recover the luggage.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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