DALLAS - A picture-perfect weekend getaway came to a maddening halt for Kristen Horabin at DFW International Airport on Sunday.
“We waited and waited and waited and my bag never showed up,” Kristen said. “And then the woman behind the counter said, ‘Oh, maybe that’s your bag over there.’ I look over, and it’s my belongings heaped in a bin and half of them are destroyed and most of them are missing.”
Kristen and her husband had just returned from a weekend getaway to Tampa. Her husband’s checked bags arrived. Every other passengers’ bags arrived. Then what was left of Kristen’s belongings appeared on another carousel.
“The suitcase was shredded,” Kristen said. “Most of the clothes that were left were shredded, and what was left was covered in black grease and toothpaste. There was a lot of toothpaste – it must have exploded on whatever impact there was.”
It is not clear how her suitcase was destroyed. It was in two pieces, with rips and tears all over. It had been placed in a plastic bin. Some torn and stained clothes, a broken blow dryer, and two mismatched shoes were piled in the bin with the bag.
“I’d say about 50 percent of my belongings were gone,” she said.
“It’s just stuff. Stuff can be replaced. It was really just more shocking the way it was handled,” she said.
According to Kristen, she received no explanation about what happened and no empathy from American Airlines employees.
“I guess what I find so appalling is that, after it happened, someone gathered up what was left of my bag and my belongings and put them in the bin and sent it on its way,” she said. “The bag just popped up on the carousel with my destroyed belongings, or half of my destroyed belongings, heaped on top.”
Kristen says she was instructed to file a claim, which she immediately did.
Within 24 hours of the report, American Airlines apologized and told her they were sending her a $3,500 check for the damages as well as a $300 travel voucher.
“We apologize for the damage that occurred to Ms. Horabin’s bag; we know how difficult it is to arrive at your final destination and a find a bag extremely damaged,” said American Airlines in a statement. “In 2017, American transported more than 160 million checked bags. While it is extremely rare to receive a report of a broken and/or damaged bag such as this one, our team will always work with our customers directly to resolves these claims.”
Kristen said she hopes the airline would consider next time not just sending a heavily damaged bag through the carousel with no explanation.
“Send someone up to say, you know, something happened to your personal effects and we’re sorry,” she said. “And I really honestly would have walked away and counted it as an unfortunate accident. I hope in the future that happens for other passengers.”