Dear Southwest Airlines, Please Find My Bag

Dear Southwest Airlines, 

On September 7th, 2016 at around 6am in the morning, my husband and I checked our bags to board flight #1469 from Seattle to Denver. 

We had just spent 3 glorious days in Seattle celebrating our 2 year anniversary, leaving our 5 month old baby girl at home. We had planned every detail of this trip because it would be the first time without our daughter with us. I pumped for 3 months before, and even had 2 amazing women donate extra milk so that we could go on this trip. I had gone shopping the week prior for new outfits and makeup, packed my favorite sweater and jacket to compliment the new looks, and also brought my straightener/curling iron to add the final touches for our date nights.

I had planned a photo shoot for my husband and I to have our wedding portraits redone, so I packed my wedding dress neatly on the bottom of my bag. After having a baby not to long before, it took a lot of work for me to fit back into the dress I had only worn for such a short, special day. 

  -image by Hannah Says Hello

-image by Hannah Says Hello

For about a year-and-a-half, I have been building my business as a photographer and recently earned enough money from my shoots to purchase my first camera body and lens. I brought them with me in hopes of capturing all of the moments and memories that we would make on this trip, and was able to do that. 

We arrived at Denver International Airport at around 12:00pm and went to baggage claim to find my husbands bag had quickly arrived. We waited for a while until all of the bags were accounted for, except mine. I went into the luggage claim area, walked around with the Southwest employee to a few different baggage claims, unable to locate my bag. She brought me back to the desk and we began to fill out an incident receipt. 

I have spoken with Terrence, Ella, Joanne, Kathy(who told me that they were conducting a search out of courtesy since you are not held liable), Brett, and a recent letter from Mike Mattson all telling me conflicting information to try and move onto the next chapter/customer on the list. I had the misfortune of speaking to Byron Anderson in Texas, who told me that "things will get worse if you keep digging" and that "I get paid for you to waste my time", which was swiftly followed with a female laugh in the background to which he quickly denied. 

On day 5 of the search, it was brought to my attention that because I flew with a non revenue guest pass, that I am held liable for any lost or damaged items and that the company(Southwest Airlines) is not. According to clause 10 on the back of my pass receipt, "A Guest Pass Traveler agrees to assume all risk of damage to or loss of personal property, including checked baggage, and to release Southwest Airlines from any related liability...". 

I have been told by countless people about their similar experiences of misplaced luggage and am constantly hearing them say to never check a bag. However, it comes down to placing trust in you as an airline, to take care of my property no matter what title is placed on the ticket holder. I have flown with you for years, and always choose you as my primary airline. I have always been treated with the utmost of priority, and would hope that just because I was blessed with guest passes, that it wouldn't change the level of urgency. 

I have filed a Passenger Property Loss Claim Form and have approximated the cost of items lost at $2, 404.94. To some, that is chump change. To me, thats an entire month of covered costs for my family and I. 

Most items are replaceable excluding my wedding dress and the pictures taken on that trip. However, replacing these items comes at a very high cost to me. My husband and I were also traveling with the intention of having our wedding pictures retaken, and will never be able to do that if my dress is gone. 

Please Southwest Airlines- Find my bag. My most cherished belongings are contained in the navy blue, carry-on sized back that you misplaced. 

Melissa Calvert