I had an item (iPhone charger) go missing from the front pocket of my duffel bag in November, and just received a letter that my case is closed and nothing can be done about it. They specifically said that if it's a compartment that could have easily opened during transport, there's not anything that could be done about the contents even though my bag arrived still zippered - I feel like it was opened and the charger taken because it could be felt through the thin duffel material. Also, despite calling just under four hours after my flight arrived, the baggage service representative delayed filing a report, which is infuriating, and they cited being beyond the four hour time frame to present a case that in the letter I received. I hope you have better luck than I did. Sorry, it's a really frustrating situation to be in.
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Delayed reply, but I just got the same letter. Similar to your case, a Southwest representative told me to check on my bag due to size restrictions although I've traveled with that bag as a carry-on with another airline. My iPhone charger was missing from the front zippered pocket, where I'd stashed it right before going to the airport. I feel like someone pilfered it because it could be felt through the thin material of my duffel bag. It was only a phone charger, but I still feel violated. I feel like there's nothing else we can do but air our complaints publicly. You have my sympathy.
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