How Did Spirit Manage to Shred and Burn a Suitcase?

Sep 25, 2018

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We’ve all had baggage troubles at the airport. Oversized, delayed, lost, maybe a bit scuffed up — it’s all exasperating but familiar territory. However, how many of you have received your luggage and belongings in a plastic garbage bag after it had been shredded and burnt to a crisp?

Passenger Ivy Ford faced this issue on Friday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) after returning from a trip via Spirit Airlines.

“I see a garbage bag go past, still not thinking anything of it, I actually tap the garbage bag and say, ‘Wow, this is really awful. Who would put somebody’s stuff in a garbage bag like this?’ not knowing the whole time it was mine,” Ford told ABC Chicago.

Image via ABC Chicago.
Image via ABC Chicago.

After a month-long back and forth and bit of drama over receiving proper reimbursement for what was lost, Ford received about $480 and $100 in travel vouchers. Spirit also released the following statement:

“We greatly apologize for the damage to our Guest’s luggage and personal items.  At Spirit Airlines we take pride in our luggage handling, but in the rare event of damage or loss, we have a process of itemizing all belongings and their value.  Keeping in mind every incident is different, we have worked directly with our Guest and fulfilled her request for reimbursement.”

However, the statement still begs the question: how does one “burn and shred” a suitcase?

This isn’t the first incident of crispy luggage to catch the attention of the media. In fact, a similar incident occurred with an Easyjet passenger back in June in which their luggage was returned to them not only burnt and shredded- — but two weeks late. Some passengers have also taken to social media to express their disbelief and frustrations with the issue:

So what gives? Well, TPG reached out to Spirit’s media team and were told that the burn that damaged Ford’s belongings “is likely a friction burn caused by the piece of luggage inadvertently being dragged by a cart or other apparatus like a conveyor belt.”

At least that rules out arson. Either way, it’s more commonly faced issue than a traveler might expect. While the issue seems to be out of anyone’s control (for the time being), ABC Chicago compiled a list of some preventative measures you can take to avoid any injury to your suitcase. We also recommend baggage insurance, so when the inevitable happens, you’re covered for it at the very least.  Check out our premium travel cards comparison to learn about how you can use your credit card to protect your luggage.

Featured image by Robert Alexander via Getty Images

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