In today’s Scambook TV video, Kevan describes a recent experience at the airport. He talks about how Southwest Airlines lost his checked bag and delayed his holiday travel plans. His one-day trip turned into an overnight stay, and he hadn’t brought anything to prepare for it – no toothbrush, no extra socks, no deodorant, nothing! Luckily, Kevan found out that Southwest Airlines will reimburse passengers for $50 of overnight incidentals when this happens. If your bag is lost and you have to spend the night, you can buy toiletries or clothes and Southwest Airlines will reimburse you. Kevan tells us the steps you need to follow to take advantage of this, then gives us the fax number for Southwest Central Baggage. He shows off his reimbursement check as proof that Southwest follows through with their passengers’ complaints. Continue reading our blog for a Lost Baggage template letter you can copy and paste!
Holiday travel can be stressful enough on its own, but when you’re stuck overnight because the airline lost your checked luggage, it’s even worse! We recently flew Southwest and this happened to us. We hadn’t planned to stay overnight, so we didn’t have any personal items with us. However, Southwest has a great policy for covering incidentals when they make a mistake and delay their passengers. When our bag finally showed up, hours later, they delivered it to our hotel at no charge. They also said that passengers in our situation are guaranteed up to $50 per person for toiletries and personal items.
When we got home to Los Angeles, we spent a long time on the phone with Southwest’s customer service. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, but it still took us several calls and transfers before we finally found out how to get reimbursement for our overnight expenses. We decided to share our experience with our Scambook audience to save you the same hassle! If you travel Southwest and you end up stuck overnight because they lost your luggage, remember that you’re covered for $50 per person.
Make sure that you receive a Lost/Delayed Baggage Report with a claim number. Just to be safe, you should also record the names of everyone you speak with at the airport or on the phone. You also need to save your flight number. Then, buy whatever you need and save those receipts, too. Southwest won’t just send you a check for $50 unasked, you’ll need to present them with a record of what you purchased. Gather these materials and then follow the steps in our video.
How to Get Reimbursed for Incidentals When You Fly Southwest
Step 1: Write a letter that describes the situation. Include your name, your flight number, your delayed baggage report claim number and an itemized list of what you bought and how much it cost. We modified our own letter so you can use it as a template. Just copy and paste into a Word document or print it out and fill in the blanks:
Your Phone or Fax Number
Southwest Central Baggage
Fax Number: 214-560-5553
Dear Southwest Airlines Central Baggage,
I recently flew Southwest from [DEPARTURE LOCATION] to [ARRIVAL LOCATION] on [DATE], Flight #_______ Confirmation #___________. During this trip, Southwest lost or delayed my checked baggage. My Lost/Delayed Baggage Report Number is ______________.
Due to my lost/delayed bag, I was severely inconvenienced and my single day trip was expanded into an overnight stay. I was assured by [NAMES OF SOUTHWEST EMPLOYEES YOU SPOKE TO] that Southwest would reimburse me up to $50 for incidentals and toiletries. Below is an itemized list of my personal expenses for the evening of [DATE]:
[ITEM, POINT OF PURCHASE, COST]
[e.g. “1 Toothbrush Kit, Walgreens on 1234 Main St., $1.99”]
TOTAL COST (Including Tax): ______
Enclosed with this fax you will find (1) a copy of Lost/Delayed Report #______________, (2) copies of my receipts. Please issue my reimbursement check to: [YOUR ADDRESS]. If you require additional information or materials, please contact me via phone at [YOUR PHONE NUMBER] or email [YOUR EMAIL]. I will be following up to confirm this fax with a phone call to Southwest Central Baggage within 48 hours.
Step 2: Make copies of your receipts and your Lost/Delayed Baggage Report.
Step 3: Fax everything to Southwest Central Baggage at 214-560-5553. If you don’t have a fax machine, you can scan your materials and use Faxzero.com to do it online for free.
Step 4: Wait a day. Then call 214-560-3600 to confirm that Southwest received your fax. Have your claim numbers handy in case they ask for them, and make sure you get the name of the Southwest customer representative you speak with, just to be extra safe.
Within 10 to 14 business days, you’ll get a letter from Southwest Central Baggage. If there’s been any issue with your reimbursement case or if Southwest needs additional material from you, they’ll let you know in this letter. But most likely, they’ll tell you that your claims have been approved and they’ll tell you when you can expect to receive your reimbursement check. Ours arrived within 10 business days.
So the next time you fly and the airline loses your luggage, stay calm and remember that they’ll cover your overnight expenses. The Central Baggage customer service reps told us that they may also cover you for expenses exceeding $50, but those claims will need to be reviewed more carefully and it may take them longer to approve the reimbursement. If you can, we recommend staying under $50 just to be safe.
Has this ever happened to you? What are your airport holiday horror stories? Share your traveler’s tales in the comments!