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-   -   Fellow passenger (child) ruined my laptop on my flight (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/1443785-fellow-passenger-child-ruined-my-laptop-my-flight.html)

DanMJ775 Mar 1, 13 6:14 pm

Fellow passenger (child) ruined my laptop on my flight
 
Edit: laptop ended up being fine after quick internal self-cleaning, so no longer see a point for this thread. Lesson learned. I'm an idiot.

UAPremExecflyer Mar 1, 13 7:29 pm

Fellow passenger (child) ruined my laptop on my flight
 
Having read your tale, I'm afraid that you should file this episode under "very expensive lesson learned". You have no recourse against the airline. Why would you indicate to a complete stranger that he could use your laptop? You are opening yourself to trouble. The fact is that what happened comes down your seatmates' word against that of the teenager and his mother - if you can find them. I'm not doubting your version of events. But you have no one to blame but yourself.

DanMJ775 Mar 1, 13 7:46 pm


Originally Posted by UAPremExecflyer (Post 20343030)
Having read your tale, I'm afraid that you should file this episode under "very expensive lesson learned". You have no recourse against the airline. Why would you indicate to a complete stranger that he could use your laptop? You are opening yourself to trouble. The fact is that what happened comes down your seatmates' word against that of the teenager and his mother - if you can find them. I'm not doubting your version of events. But you have no one to blame but yourself.

I agree that I'm probably screwed, but I'd like to clarify that I never told him he could use my laptop. I said that he could listen to the sound as well when I pull the laptop out later to watch Seinfeld. How exactly could that be construed to mean that I granted the kid permission to use it? My word against his you say? Well if that's true, then even if I hadn't said anything to the kid, he and his mother could still claim that I gave him permission and that it was an accident. My word against theirs, right? I could have said nothing to the child or mother beforehand, and if he decides to mess with my computer and ruin it, tough luck. They'll just claim they had permission. The only way to avoid it then would be to bring my laptop to the bathroom with me. Do you agree?

I agree that the airline is blameless, but perhaps I could subpoena them for the mother's name and address and try to get a judgment in small claims court.

xxmimxx Mar 1, 13 7:46 pm

Very expensive lesson... learned to never trust seat mates and risk it

mromalley Mar 1, 13 8:24 pm

Any chance you paid for the laptop with a CC that has insurance? You might be able to claim it that way and at least get some reiumbursement

Palal Mar 1, 13 8:29 pm

Any chance you could file a police report of what happened with witness statements and then have them pay for a new one (or take them to small claims court if need be)?

The kid's mother is financially responsible for the kid, so you'd be dealing with her.

DanMJ775 Mar 1, 13 8:48 pm

Good news. It works now! I had removed the keyboard last night and rinsed each part very lightly and gently with deionized water to remove the soda stains on the keyboard and underneath. I then let it air dry for 24 hours. I just reassembled it, and it booted up just fine. I seriously thought it was a goner after I couldn't get it turn on for two straight days, so this was a complete hail mary.

I think I will certainly take lessons from this, however. I will NEVER leave my laptop unattended while in flight again. It's not even safe in the case. What happened to me earlier this week could happen again someday. Or worse, a fellow passenger could swipe it while I'm in the bathroom and put it in their carry-on and I'd be screwed. I can't exactly ask the flight attendants to search every passenger's bags before deplaning. The only way I'll leave it unattended is if I am traveling with someone that I know (friend, girlfriend or family member) and trust that they will watch it for me.

Edit: I seriously thought that the circuit board was fried from my past experience (I used to do computer repair for extra money during college). Someone up there must like me or want to give me a second chance.

mikew99 Mar 1, 13 9:14 pm

You have my condolences for your bad experience. It's reprehensible that the mother would let her child take your laptop while she was sitting there, then look you straight in the face and claim to not know what happened to it! She's clearly shirking her responsibility, not only to monitor her child but to compensate you for the damage her child caused. :mad:

Thanks for sharing your story; it's a sad reminder of how inconsiderate our fellow passengers can sometimes be. :(

sirdatary Mar 1, 13 9:18 pm

It sounds like the time to deal with this would have been before the mother and child got off the plane. If the mom continued to deny that her son did anything, then ask the FA to arrange for a police officer to meet the plane at the gate to address the fact that somebody vandalized your laptop.

The officer would have most likely just mediated the matter and facilitated an exchange of contact information, but at least you have someone you can go after in small claims court, if needed.

At this point, unless the airline gives you her information voluntarily, recovering money from this lady is going to be a real headache. Glad your laptop is working again.

1kBill Mar 1, 13 9:29 pm


Originally Posted by sirdatary (Post 20343449)
It sounds like the time to deal with this would have been before the mother and child got off the plane. If the mom continued to deny that her son did anything, then ask the FA to arrange for a police officer to meet the plane at the gate to address the fact that somebody vandalized your laptop.

The officer would have most likely just mediated the matter and facilitated an exchange of contact information, but at least you have someone you can go after in small claims court, if needed.

At this point, unless the airline gives you her information voluntarily, recovering money from this lady is going to be a real headache. Glad your laptop is working again.

Excellent suggestion. If nothing else, it might have taught the parent a lesson in how to do proper parenting. Why on earth she would allow her kid to play with someone else's stuff on plane is totally beyond me.

DanMJ775 Mar 1, 13 9:29 pm


Originally Posted by sirdatary (Post 20343449)
It sounds like the time to deal with this would have been before the mother and child got off the plane. If the mom continued to deny that her son did anything, then ask the FA to arrange for a police officer to meet the plane at the gate to address the fact that somebody vandalized your laptop.

The officer would have most likely just mediated the matter and facilitated an exchange of contact information, but at least you have someone you can go after in small claims court, if needed.

At this point, unless the airline gives you her information voluntarily, recovering money from this lady is going to be a real headache. Glad your laptop is working again.

I no longer see a need to recover money. The deionized water bottle cost me $4 and the screwdrivers to open up the case were purchased at a local store for $11. For a total investment of 15 buck to open the laptop up, wash it and dry it out, there's no reason to. I don't believe in going after people for no reason at all, anyway. If I hadn't been made whole after the property damage, I'd still be quite pissed. In this case, it was up to me to make myself whole, but them's the breaks.

What I will do, however, is write a letter to the airline in question (I won't name them because it isn't their fault but you can probably narrow it down to 2 or 3 if you look at my itinerary) explaining the situation and telling them what happened. Not because I want anything, but just so they stop to think about it. Because if that little POS does it to someone else's laptop, they might not be so lucky to get it working again. I'm not really sure what they could have done to prevent it.

8rulos Mar 1, 13 10:54 pm

Fellow passenger (child) ruined my laptop on my flight
 
Sorry to hear about your experience. True congratulations on your handling the situation so well. Glad your laptop is in good shape.

MIT_SBM Mar 1, 13 11:42 pm


Originally Posted by DanMJ775 (Post 20343490)
-- SNIP --

What I will do, however, is write a letter to the airline in question (I won't name them because it isn't their fault but you can probably narrow it down to 2 or 3 if you look at my itinerary) explaining the situation and telling them what happened. Not because I want anything, but just so they stop to think about it. Because if that little POS does it to someone else's laptop, they might not be so lucky to get it working again. I'm not really sure what they could have done to prevent it.

What is the airline supposed to "stop to think about"? You have already admitted that the airline isn't at fault. And you are not sure what they could have done to prevent the incident.

I guess one option would be for the airline to institute a policy where all involved parties and potential witnesses are met and questioned/interviewed by police at the destination. But what else could the airline do? I am almost certain that the airline's management does not want to involve it's employees in resolving disputes between passengers that don't involve the financial or safety interests of the airline. But I could be wrong about that. It wouldn't be the first time.

littlesheep Mar 2, 13 8:29 am

IANAL, but a plane is not a lawless zone. If someone assaulted you physically, they would be detained upon arrival. I don't see why vandalism and damage to property would be acceptable. I'd have asked for a police meet and greet upon arrival.

This behavior sounds very strange, though. Did the kid seem normal? It sounds more like the actions of someone with a developmental disability.

Either way, the mother should be held accountable, if not the kid. I wouldn't have left the airport w/o a police report filed. What if they'd stolen stuff and not returned it? What if they'd engaged in some identity theft?

The airline knows exactly who they are. It seems to me strange that this would just be let go.

9Benua Mar 2, 13 9:20 am

I applaud you for keeping your patience, if I were in your situation, after I got 2 person who tells me the real story, I'll be ballistic and called her on her lies. While the teen's action is stupid, the mom's action is much worse.


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