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Southwest refused to pay for laptop after FA spilled drink on it

Southwest refused to pay for laptop after FA spilled drink on it

Old Dec 17, 18, 12:42 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Southwest refused to pay for laptop after FA spilled drink on it

Hi all, I was flying with my kids from LA to Nashville for the Thanksgiving. I was in the aisle seat and the flight attendant reached over my laptop (open on the tray table) and spilled Dr. Pepper all over the keyboard. He was trying to hand it to my son who in the window seat. I immediately turned it upside-down & turned it off, then asked him for an incident report. He refused to document the incident and told me to speak with the luggage office at the airport when we landed. I did speak with them but they wouldn't give me any documentation and told me to call customer relations the next day.

I went home and emailed customer service, then called customer relations the next day. Customer relations said customer service had my case already and they wouldn't discuss it. A week later, I received this

Thank you for your email in regard to your recent experience traveling to Nashville. I welcome the opportunity to respond to your concerns.



We are sorry to learn that your laptop was damaged onboard Flight #5802 on November 25. While I certainly understand how disappointing this is for you, it is important to note that carryon luggage is the sole responsibility of the Customer, and we do not provide reimbursement for damage to/loss of carryon items.



While we are unable to respond favorably to your request for reimbursement, if you have other resources, such as homeowners’ insurance, you might check to see if compensation is available to you by this means. Still, retaining your future patronage is very important to us. As a gesture of goodwill, we’ve Southwest LUV Voucher in the amount of $225.84, which is equivalent to your one-way fare. This will arrive in a separate email within the next 10 days and instructions for use will be detailed on the voucher. Our hope is that you will use this to return for a better, more typical Southwest experience.



We appreciate your loyalty, and we are confident that more favorable circumstances will prevail on future travels with Southwest Airlines. We look forward to welcoming you onboard again on December 23.

Sincerely,
(redacted by nsx)

This is unacceptable. My laptop was a Macbook Air and only 14 months old and now it won't function. I have an attorney I'm using for another issue at this time and she recommended filing in small claims court, then updating her if I need help. I don't know if it's worth paying for her advice at this point, but I will if it'll help. Is it worth filing in small claims court and the hassle? I've been reading that Southwest is terrible about covering damage they've caused and even counter-sue for attorney's fee, etc. Would love some advice. Thanks!

Last edited by nsx; Dec 17, 18 at 4:25 pm
scrapperluv is offline  
Old Dec 17, 18, 7:21 am
  #2  
 
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I can not provide any great advice, but am interested in what happens. Personally, I have mixed feelings on this incident. I get the part where the customer is responsible, but the airline (FA) did cause the damage.

This happened to my bosses computer many years ago. Compute was toast but I was able to remove the hard drive and save the data. Never thought to file a claim with the airline. Ever since that time, I always close my computer when the drinks come my way, especially if on the aisle.

Good luck
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NoStressHere is offline  
Old Dec 17, 18, 7:26 am
  #3  
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To make life simple, use your Apple Care policy. Apple and WN can then duke it out and you will have a new or repaired laptop.

If you did not purchase Apple Care, look at your various insurance policies. While 14 months is fairly far out for accidential damage, it is not unheard of. Credit cards, homeowneres, and the like. These will all require that you have an estimate or a statement that the laptop is beyond repair. Apple does this either at an Apple Store or via its mail in service.

If you have no coverage, file a small claims action against WN. You haven't told us where you live, but I'll presume that it is in California or Tennessee. Both have "customer-friendly" systems and serving a national corporation could not be easier. You will also need your repair estimate or statement for any action. Note that few, if any, courts will award more than the fair market value of an item and that is nowhere near what you paid 14 months ago. However, you do need to go into the matter with eyes open. It is more than possible that a judge would look at this and say that a reasonable person would close or cover the laptop if a drink were being handed over it and that reasonable precautions could have prevented any damage.

Do not use the voucher until after the claim or case is resolved.
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Last edited by Often1; Dec 17, 18 at 8:32 am
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:12 am
  #4  
formerly jackvogt
 
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What do you mean when you say the laptop does not function? If you pursue compensation then be prepared to use no emotion. They don't care. Present the facts and your request and you have a higher chance of getting what you want.

Also just a side note, I can't stand the people that won't help the FA pass drinks to other people in the row. If I'm at the window the person on the aisle should help the FA (I am not accusing you of that).
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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:01 am
  #5  
 
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FA spills some kids drink on you while you are working: their bad

FA spills YOUR OWN KIDS drink while you are 1-2 two seats closer to your kids than you are: YOUR bad

Ignoring the above if I have $1000 in property damage while on an airplane, I am not leaving the flight without an incident report from either the airline or the airport police. By going to baggage claim where everyday claims for damaged bag straps/wheels are dealt with I think it really took all the pressure off the FA who would have otherwise had to have a gate supervisor come onboard.

//or, fly with a laptop worth less than the $225 what you paid for the flight next time, and then the voucher will result in a net profit.
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Last edited by expert7700; Dec 17, 18 at 11:07 am
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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:10 am
  #6  
 
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would you sue a stranger next to you if he accidentally spilled his drink?

you got the full value of the ticket as future credit, which seems more than fair.
airplanes are cramped spaces, people bump into others all the time, exercise proper caution, and roll with the punches
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Colin is offline  
Old Dec 17, 18, 11:19 am
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Stuff happens when you travel. Perhaps be more cautious next time. Move on, IMO.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 6:46 pm
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If this went down as claimed, FA screwed you over when they said no to the incident report. I would have demanded one.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 7:28 pm
  #9  
 
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Happened last year...same result:

Southwest's response to my inquiry is that there's nothing they can do; that I accept the full liability for any items I bring on the plane. The Customer Service Representative then directed me to the terms that I agreed to when purchasing the ticket, and 4/5 of the way through a 50 page document, after an entire section discussing how Southwest covers damage made to carryon luggage stored in the overhead bins, there is a small clause noting that it does not apply to "personal items."
A small claims court filing seems cost-effective.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 9:03 pm
  #10  
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IANAL but a contract of adhesion isn't necessarily binding on the other party.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 10:18 pm
  #11  
 
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Just to throw out another idea, your local news channel may be able to help. Many have a “on your side” or “we investigate” segment where they will help you with getting something from a company and feature the story on their channel. This could be cheaper/easier than a small claims court case if you don’t have insurance that will cover it.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 8:03 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by zgscl View Post
Just to throw out another idea, your local news channel may be able to help. Many have a “on your side” or “we investigate” segment where they will help you with getting something from a company and feature the story on their channel. This could be cheaper/easier than a small claims court case if you don’t have insurance that will cover it.

Yea, go the old shame them into paying up.

After all, everything in life is someone else's fault.

And all corporations are evil.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 8:33 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by expert7700 View Post
FA spills some kids drink on you while you are working: their bad

FA spills YOUR OWN KIDS drink while you are 1-2 two seats closer to your kids than you are: YOUR bad

Ignoring the above if I have $1000 in property damage while on an airplane, I am not leaving the flight without an incident report from either the airline or the airport police. By going to baggage claim where everyday claims for damaged bag straps/wheels are dealt with I think it really took all the pressure off the FA who would have otherwise had to have a gate supervisor come onboard.

//or, fly with a laptop worth less than the $225 what you paid for the flight next time, and then the voucher will result in a net profit.
I should have explained that I didnt SEE the FA next to me until the drink splashed on my laptop. i was looking down at a game i was playing on my phone and he didnt get my attention to hand me the drink. I usually do take the drinks and set them on the kids' trays.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 8:42 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by scrapperluv View Post
.... i was looking down at a game i was playing on my phone....

Seems like a real tech-gadget smorgasbord going on at your tray table!

I am actually impressed they refunded the ticket, and I'd be inclined say "thank you very much" and move on with more pleasant things in life.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by scrapperluv View Post
I should have explained that I didnt SEE the FA next to me until the drink splashed on my laptop. i was looking down at a game i was playing on my phone and he didnt get my attention to hand me the drink. I usually do take the drinks and set them on the kids' trays.
Bring the kids when you go before Judge Judy. An appearance fee of around $500 and the show pays for their flight, hotel and meals. You can still file in small claims court. Add your docket number to the application form.
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