- A Southwest Airlines passenger said she used social media and an AirTag to retrieve her lost bag.
- The bag, which contained her performing equipment, was returned with an Instagram follower’s help.
- Orissa Kelly said the airline declined to help, but that it later apologized and refunded her flight.
A Southwest Airlines passenger said she enlisted the help of her Instagram followers to retrieve her lost bags after airline staff said they couldn’t help.
Orissa Kelly, an acrobatic archery performer, posted a TikTok video on Tuesday saying she was flying from Kansas to Nashville when Southwest lost her baggage.
Kelly said her bags contained equipment vital to her performing act, such as her bow, handstand platforms, and costumes. Everything inside was “pretty much irreplaceable,” she added.
“I was told by Southwest Airlines that the bag was lost and to just fill out a form for reimbursement of my equipment,” Kelly said in the video.
Fortunately for the performer, she had earlier placed an AirTag in her suitcase, and was able to pinpoint its exact location in the Kansas City International Airport.
But Kelly said Southwest Airlines staff repeatedly told her that her bags were lost and declined to assist. “She even hung up on me,” Kelly said of a staff member.
“So in the end, I put it on my Instagram, and I asked my followers if there was anyone who worked at that airport. And amazingly, I got a ton of responses,” she said.
Kelly eventually came into contact with a follower who knew someone working at the Kansas airport, and used a floor map of the facility to help find her luggage.
She said her “incredible follower” arranged for her bag to be flown to Nashville. Kelly then picked the bag up at the airport in Nashville.
“And the only way that I knew the bag was on its way was simply through my follower’s message, not through Southwest,” Kelly said in her video. “Even though I signed up for email notifications, they never told me anything.”
Kelly said Southwest also declined to refund her parking tickets for the multiple times she returned to the Nashville airport to ask for and retrieve her bag.
A Southwest Airlines representative later called Kelly to apologize, she said in a follow-up video the next day. Kelly said she received refunds for her parking tickets and her flight from Kansas to Nashville, as well as $300 in vouchers.
“Aside from all the money, I’m going to say that her genuine apology meant more than so many airlines that would have just sent a generic apology email for a crappy situation,” Kelly added.
Kelly and representatives for Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.
Like Kelly, United Airlines passenger Sandra Shuster in July took matters into her own hands and flew to Chicago to retrieve her lost luggage herself using an AirTag, saying airline staff were unable to help her. Shuster’s bag contained a $2,000 lacrosse kit her daughter needed for try-outs, she told CNN.