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Old 10-18-2013, 01:38 PM   #1
Carrie in AZ
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Anyone else with soaked last Saturday out of Houston Hobby?

I've been meaning to post about this all week. Last Saturday, Oct. 12th, it was raining when we disembarked the Wonder in Galveston. Lots of hard driving rain on the drive to Hobby. We checked in all of five suitcases and spent a couple hours hanging in the airport until our flight. Well, it started pouring hard again with lightening, etc. We boarded our flight late due to the weather, they thought there was a break and we'd be able to get out, but we ended up sitting on the aircraft for about an hour. The Captain kept coming on saying they couldn't leave because the ramp workers weren't able to load the luggage due to lightening strikes in the area. After a while, we were off and landed without incident.

When our luggage came off the carousel, it was wet, and I was like "uh oh" but I thought it was just surface moisture and, since we were anxious to get home, off we went. Well! When I opened up our suitcases at home, they were soaked ALL THE WAY THROUGH. It's as if someone dunked them in the pool and then handed them to me. I couldn't believe it. The rampers must have ditched their luggage carts and kept them out in the elements while the pouring rain soaked our luggage.

Sadly, all of the pictures I had bought from the cruise were in the outside pocket of our largest suitcase -- I placed them there as it seemed like the flatest place to get them home without bending. Big mistake.

I called Southwest and filed a claim and they were very nice. I followed up this week and "settled' with them on the phone. They are paying for our damaged items and offered travel vouchers for our trouble. I thought they were very fair. We are fortunate we didn't have more items damaged than we did. I learned a big lesson also about checked baggage and it is this: If you care deeply for an item you are traveling with, do not pack it because you do not know what will happen after it leaves your hands.

Just wanted to post about this fiasco in case it also happened to you. Wanted to share our positive outcome.
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
Shazzie B
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What a nightmare, glad it's sorted, hope you were able to replace the photos
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
hycastillo85
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Oh no!! Glad ya'll were able to get home and were reimbursed! My husband is a pilot and was flying into Hobby last Saturday. He told me that there was a small break in the weather but other aircraft had reported microbursts in the area, which are columns of sinking air that basically pull everything down... all the way down. Anyways, that is probably why they had you sitting and I am glad they did!!!

Houston weather is so finicky... One minute it is sunshine, the next you are running from a storm. Gotta love Texas!!!
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:38 PM   #4
amomma23
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The same thing happened to us leaving WDW in August. Luckily nothing was damaged, but as you said everything was soaked through. We're keeping our eyes peeled for some new hard-sided luggage before our cruise.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:59 PM   #5
Carrie in AZ
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Quote:
Oh no!! Glad ya'll were able to get home and were reimbursed! My husband is a pilot and was flying into Hobby last Saturday. He told me that there was a small break in the weather but other aircraft had reported microbursts in the area, which are columns of sinking air that basically pull everything down... all the way down. Anyways, that is probably why they had you sitting and I am glad they did!!!
Me, too! It seemed pretty dangerous. Apparently SW has a procedure called a Sparky which is an alarm that sounds if there is lightening within 3 miles, they close the ramps. I am all for human safety, but there has to be better flaps on the cart or something that they can easily pull down when they need to evacuate the ramps. No joy for anyone working under those conditions.

It does sound like hard sided luggage is the way to go. *sigh* We just bought new soft sided last year so no new pieces for us for a while.
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
Zandy595
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Sorry to hear about your damaged photos.

MIL put very old sentimental jewelry that belonged to her mother (who had just passed) in her checked luggage and the airline lost it. She was sick about it. Luckily it was found a few days later.

Moral of the story, never put anything valuable in your checked luggage.
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Old 10-18-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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Be sure to contact Shutters through the info in the FAQ thread ASAP so you can get your pictures. They have been great with us replacing pictures that had the wrong port & date, and if you tell them what happened I would expect them to work with you as well.
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #8
silkie8
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So sorry for your trouble. Glad to hear SWest did you right. Thanks for sharing - lots of us will benefit from your advice.
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:43 PM   #9
jdb in AZ
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It's not just Houston. I flew through LAX and saw several luggage trailers sitting uncovered in pouring rain. Don't these people believe in tarps?

There was no lightning delay, just heavy rain. My soft-sided suitcase arrived quite wet on the outside, but fortunately was plastic lined so my clothes felt rather damp instead of soaked.
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Old 10-19-2013, 04:09 PM   #10
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We had a similar experience several years ago flying home from WDW. Opened up the suitcases once we got home and everything was soaked. Since then we pack everything in ziploc bags. This has saved us on a few occasions since then. Suitcase arrived soaked but clothes were dry.
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
Carrie in AZ
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Since then we pack everything in ziploc bags.
This is exactly what we will be doing from now on. I will use those large XL size they now sell. Sorry to know others have had this happen in the past also.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:05 PM   #12
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Carrie,
First let me say Im glad you had a good trip!

Now as a former Ramp Rat (Bag Smasher, etc.) for Delta...

I worked at Pittsburgh all through college. They had a light system mounted on the outside of the terminals. I don't remember the exact colors but I think it was yellow and red. When the yellow strobes were on, it meant there was a lightening strike within 10 miles (maybe 15?) of the field. When the red came on it meant there was a strike on the field somewhere. As soon as the red strobe started flashing we had to drop everything and go inside. If we were putting bags on the belt-loader, we just stopped the belt loader and walked inside. We weren't allowed to touch anything, remove the bags, etc. I know Southwest uses bag carts that are uncovered at a lot of airports. Its kinda like a big open trailer that they have an awning that goes over the bags. So if the ramper was just pulling up to the plane, the lightening system goes off, they have no control over it and have to immediately walk inside. The awning does a good job covering for a little rain, but if its sitting out there for more than 10 minutes, stuff will get wet. Just something to think about when you check bags.

As you said, if you care deeply about an item, don't check it. On our upcoming cruise the only stuff were checking are Fish Extender items (sorry fellow cruises if this gets ruined!) and the non-important clothes.

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Old 10-20-2013, 02:27 PM   #13
AirOps1
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Hard side luggage is the way to go with a strap around it. In narrow body aircraft your luggage might be stacked next to fresh fish or other cargo that can leak and then the rain.
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Old 10-20-2013, 03:47 PM   #14
Carrie in AZ
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Clint, thanks for weighing in. Yes, human safety is so much more important than my luggage. It's just such a shock what happened. I learned a big lesson and we are good to go from now on.
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July 2013 Aulani
June 2012 - GCH July 2012 - Aulani
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Thanksgiving 2010 - Disneyland
Nov 2009 - CR/Poly Oct 2009 - GCH Nov 2008 - BC
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