Bonnie K Hunter
Winston Salem NC 27107
File # (redacted)
It has taken me a few days to arrive home from my trip to Oregon and then to get the documentation needed to send you regarding my damaged luggage.
As there is no room on any digital form to explain what happened, I hope you won't mind me sharing my story here, because there were many things that combined to make this disaster happen, a whole set of circumstances that were beyond my control.
First off, I am a loyal United Airlines customer. I have been flying United or Star Alliance for many years and this is my airline of choice for all my business travel. I don't know if it matters, but I am a Star Gold customer.
I know accidents happen, but I also believe that some things just need to be made right.
On the afternoon of July 9th I was flying on flight 5550 from SFO to RDM.
The flight was already an hour delayed, and they were in a hurry to get us boarded and out of there and on our way.
My seat was 3A --I chose this seat because I need the under-the-seat storage space for my carry-on which contained not only my laptop computer, but my vintage custom painted 1938 singer featherweight sewing machine, both of which I need for my business -- you see I was on my way to Sisters, Oregon for the Sisters Quilt Show. I am a writer for Quiltmaker Magazine, and I publish quilting books with Kansas City Star. These items are very much attached to what I do for a living.
By nature, being a carry-on, these items are not packed with the possibility of becoming checked luggage. This has ALWAYS fit under the seat at my feet.
When I got to my seat, I found that the under the seat storage area was already taken by a HUGE back pack/duffel bag. My roll aboard that fits under the seat would NOT fit in the overhead bin on this smaller regional jet.
As we were haggling what needed to happen here to make room for my bag, as I was in seat 3A ---the flight attendant told me to pass my bag forward, that it would have to be gate checked, that I was holding up passengers from entering the plane and that we needed to get moving for an on time departure.
She asked me to pass my bag forward three times....and having memorized the line that "customers will adhere to all posted signs and plackards and follow all crew member instructions" I let my bag go.
I never should have.
Upon reaching my destination, I discovered that my laptop had been completely demolished, and even worse, my beautiful prize 1938 one of a kind featherweight sewing machine broken beyond repair. Photos are enclosed below.
I took the laptop to Best Buy to see about it --- it's not under warranty anymore, and they want to charge me $89.95 to give me an estimate on whether it is fixable or not. I consider this a bad investment, because I honestly don't see that it is fixable, and it's sad to say, I kind of doubt there will be any compensation on the demolition of my laptop.
But my machine?
I am attaching the receipt, and a letter stating why it is not fixable, and asking for full compensation on the destroyed machine as this is my business, my livelihood.
Never again will I allow a flight attendant to demand that I check my carry on planeside when it should have been the person who's HUGE backpack was taking up the entire under the seat storage space.
Is there anything you can do to help me?
This will not stop me from flying United ---my business must go on, but I would hope that because of my loyalty to United, that United will in turn show some loyalty back to me, a valued customer.
Please contact me if you need more information.
Bonnie K Hunter
Machine damage, showing motor broken from the body of the machine -- this is unfixable as it is cast aluminum.
The extension tray is completely broken off and can not be repaired.
The broken screen on my laptop.