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Taking the wrong suitcase policy?

New Arrival

Does Southwest have a policy for how to handle situations when a customer takes the wrong suitcase home? This recently happened to me, and I was surprised by how poorly the SWA employees handled the issue. Surely I was not the first person this has happened to. 


Re: Taking the wrong suitcase policy?

Rising Star

Yes - this would fall under "lost luggage" I would think. Southwest recommends letting an agent know within 4 hours of landing that you do not have your bag, and you can also file a lost item report.


More info here: 


Out of curiosity - how do you know that someone took your luggage? Did the other person realize they had the wrong bag when they got home and contacted you? 



Re: Taking the wrong suitcase policy?

Top Contributor

Having had this happen to me, the policy is it is the responsibility of the person who took the wrong bag to bring it back to the airport.  There's no much more Southwest can do.



Re: Taking the wrong suitcase policy?

Top Contributor

I had this happen with a rent car a long time ago. I was attending CES in Chicago (when it was still being held there). The attendant brought me my  rent  car and I drove to the hotel. As I was turning into the parking lot, I realized the car had roll up windows and not power windows.


My car had power windows. The attendant had brought the wrong car.


So back to McCormick Place I went. Where the owners of "my" car were nervously waiting.

We traded cars.


Two cars. Same make. Same model. Same model year. Same outside and inside colors. Just one had power windows and the other did not.


Who woulda thought?

Re: Taking the wrong suitcase policy?

Active Member

I'm not sure who is responsible. When the suitcase hits the conveyor belt, Southwest has successfully delivered your bag. The airport, not the airline, manages that area. I'm pretty sure that if someone steals your bag at that point, Southwest could claim that they are not responsible.


In many southern countries (my wife who is a professor and international human rights researcher says that that is the proper way to refer to "developing countries"), they actually check when you leave the baggage area to see if the bag you have is actually yours. You show them you baggage claim, and they compare it to the tag on the bag. I've multiple stories about people who steal bags from the carousels at airports.

Re: Taking the wrong suitcase policy?

New Arrival

Thanks for the replies.


The story had a happy ending: the person who accidentally took the wrong bag returned to the airport after the airline called them (using the contact information on the suitcase that was still at the airport).


My surprise, however, is that the SWA employees were a mess, and frankly made the situation worse. It was clear that they were improvising, and I didn't think they handled it well, so I was curious if there was a protocol for this situation.