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Medical Custom Back Brace - left on plane still not ‘found’

New Arrival

We were on a flight back home to RDU from Orlando. My son has a broken back and has a custom fitted medical brace (looks like a hard plastic girdle) and is allowed to take it off for small periods of time (and he did so on the flight since not moving around and took a nap). He put it under the seat (fit basically perfectly under the seat) and he realized it was left as we were getting in the car and leaving the airport.  Immediately called the 800 number and they said something like that would definitely not be thrown away and would make it to lost and found (they said the online report was the ONLY process) and they couldn’t contact anyone directly (it was within 20 minutes of landing and the plane was still there). But since I was told nothing could be done, I filled out the form immediately online while in the car.  


That weekend I looked online and they said airports keep things found for 3 days.  It had only been 2 so I went back to RDU and found lost and found.  They told me differently, said 24 hours and then all shipped to their list and found facility. 

Is now been 2 weeks and I don’t see how it could not have been located.  Southwest should really have a system to allow a phot upload of ‘odd items’.  It’s a medical back brace but they probably think it’s some sort of girdle (that’s what my daughter would tease him and call it).  I also wish the employees would all ‘know’ the same process. The lost and found person told me the person on the phone when we were getting in the car was WRONG, apparently a customer agent COULD have helped me even though I had technically gone past the ‘can’t go back to gate’ boundary in the airport.  That’s probably the most frustrating part, being told on the phone i couldn’t do that while it was happening because I would have walked back in the airport since I was still on airport property! 


I figure if they haven’t found it yet, they won’t.  What is the success rate of ‘we found your item’ after 2 weeks? Is there a generic way to report item without flight? I have a feeling that it may not have been seen that day as it really did perfectly fit under the seat  where you wouldn’t see it since it was hollow in center - and so they may not have associated it till another flight if a passenger or someone finally noticed it. 




Re: Medical Custom Back Brace - left on plane still not ‘found’

Top Contributor

Not sure where you read that all lost items are kept for 3 days. I'd file that in the category of not everything you read online is accurate.


Southwest ships all lost items to a central location and then those items are matched against the lost item reports. The recoveries I hear about involve items with unique identifying marks such as serial numbers, name tags, and specific stickers. Things like computers and other electronic items fall into this category. A medical device may be unique to you, but in the nationwide world of lost and found I doubt it stands out. Sadly, unless you have some specific, completely unique information about your item my guess is it will not be returned. Returns do often take 30+ days so there is still some hope. 


Your suggestion about allowing for a photo to be uploaded is interesting and I would recommend you submit the idea to Southwest. Use the contact us link at the bottom of this page and send a message. I believe Southwest utilizes a third party vendor for this service so not allowing photos may be that company's limitation. 



Re: Medical Custom Back Brace - left on plane still not ‘found’

Top Contributor

I'm sorry to hear that your son left his brace on the plane.


I'd be willing to bet the entire lost and found process is automated. Why? Because the sheer volume of "found" items  dictates it. If just 1 in 1000 passengers reports a lost item, the Southwest has to try to find about 100,000 items every year.


Found item descriptions are entered into a database. Lost item descriptions are entered into the same database, Then an attempt is made to match lost items with those that are found.


I hope the brace is found.