Stolen luggage claim denied by Southwest Airlines despite being caught on video

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DENVER (KDVR) — When your luggage is lost or stolen at Denver International Airport, you are supposed to file a claim with your airline.

Since Cristal Outman of San Diego had a police report and even surveillance video of the crime, she figured her claim with Southwest Airlines would be straight forward.

“I feel like I’m getting robbed a second time. The first time we got robbed by the thief and now we‘re getting robbed by Southwest Airlines,” complained Outman.

The 44-year-old was traveling with her parents, her husband and their two small children on Aug. 9 when two of their suitcases went missing at the baggage carousel.

Outman said Southwest Airlines told her family to buy new clothes and file a reimbursement claim since it was day one of a vacation to a Dude Ranch in Granby.

At the time, Outman said Southwest assumed her bags had gotten lost in transit.

Instead, Outman tracked down airport surveillance video that showed a mask wearing man walking off with two suitcases that belonged to Outman and her husband.

“When I saw that, it made complete sense to me as to why he thought he could get away with it. It was really hard to see anything other than his eyes,” said Outman.

Nonetheless, Denver police managed to arrest 43-year-old Bruce Feaster for theft after he was caught in the act in late August. It turns out Denver police have connected Feaster to four separate cases of baggage theft at DIA.

Outman said when she submitted her claim totaling $1,500.00 for the lost luggage and new clothes her claim was denied.

“According to Southwest Airlines they only need to say there is a discrepancy and that gives them the right to deny the claim,” said an incredulous Outman before adding, “They don’t have to explain why they deny the claim. I’m sure other people have just given up. I was not willing to.”

It turns out Southwest Airlines felt Outman has improperly submitted some of receipts but it took her weeks of phone calls to get the airline to explain her mistake.

The Problem Solvers reached out to Southwest Airlines to see if it would reconsider Outman’s reimbursement claim.

“The Southwest team prides itself on the hospitality we offer and our willingness to look at issues on a case-by-case basis to assist our customers. We are always happy to review again with the Customer through our Customer Service team,” Southwest Airlines told FOX31 in an email.

Outman has yet to hear from the airline since the Problem Solvers made an inquiry on her behalf but a spokeswoman for Southwest told the Problem Solvers that’s because the airline is still reconsidering her claim and promised to get back to Outman later this week.

As for the stolen suitcases, Denver police said while they caught the man responsible, they were not able to recover the luggage.

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