EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — One family’s dream vacation and Christmas shopping trip to Disneyland and other California theme parks ended in rags, stuffing, and anger as their checked baggage was destroyed on the tarmac.
After flying back to El Paso from California on Southwest Airlines, Kaila and her family expected to get off the plane, grab their bags and head home for the Christmas holidays — their gift shopping complete thanks to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and other West Coast amusement parks.
Their joy quickly turned to disappointment and anger as they went to claim their bags at El Paso International Airport; searching for their military-spec luggage, they spotted a large, gray trash bag with torn clothing spilling from a tear.
The baggage claim tag that sealed the bag matched their bag number.
Shocked and stunned, the family gathered the bag and the bits of gifts on the conveyor belt and headed to the offices of Southwest Airlines.
According to the family, representatives told them that there had been an incident with their luggage — it had been run over — and the contents spilled on the tarmac.
As Kaila’s dad unpacked the plastic bag, bits of new shirts, dresses, Mickey Mouse outfits and broken toys began to spread out in the airline’s office.
According to a video taken by the father, one Southwest Airlines employee helped him move the ruined gifts to another bag, as another employee let him know that they could have $250 or the bag, but not both, as payment for the damage.
“It’s over $1000 in gifts … they’re all ruined …” the father tells the employees, as he holds up the tattered remains of a ‘Pizza Planet’ shirt and a Star Wars Stormtrooper hat.
“It’s a couple days before Christmas. I have to go to the Disney parks to get those items; you can’t get them online, you can’t get them at the Disney store. I can’t have another dress made for my daughter two days before Christmas,” Kaila’s father added.
One Southwest Airlines representative says they are in contact with the family and are working to resolve their concerns. The representative added that they had extended an invitation to the family and a voucher to welcome them back to Southwest Airlines for a future trip.