WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Dennis Bline is a loyal Southwest customer, so when it was time for a vacation to San Diego, he booked flights for his family on his favorite airline.
His wife’s daughter and her family flew in from British Columbia. They arrived safe and sound, but their son’s car seat did not make the trip unscathed.
The family wanted to take the car seat with them into the airplane’s cabin. It ended up with checked baggage, and by the time it reached its final destination, it had been destroyed.
“It had bent metal bars in it,” Bline recalled. “There were feet that are meant to stabilize the car seat in an accident, and those were deployed, so the car seat was rendered structurally unable to be used.”
“Basically it was not going to protect Carson whatsoever,” he said.
Bline asked Southwest to cover the cost to replace it, about $600 Canadian.
“Eventually, we got a letter from them [Southwest] that said ‘it’s our policy that we don’t pay this,'” Bline said. “If it was a routine thing, sure, stuff happens. This wasn’t routine.”
When Call 12 for Action contacted Southwest, Dan Landson, a spokesperson for the airline, said in a statement, “We’ve been able to speak with the customers to get a better understanding of what took place. Through that conversation and our own internal review, we decided that we would refund the customers for the damages.”
“We apologize to the customers that this was not the way their experience should’ve been on Southwest Airlines. We hope to have them onboard again when their travel plans permit,” Landson added.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines are required to accept all reports of mishandled baggage.
Most airlines require passengers to file a claim within 24 hours of a domestic flight. For Southwest, there’s only a four-hour window to report damage, according to the airline’s website.