Spirit Airlines is apologizing after workers who work under a vendor contract were caught on camera taking things out of a passenger's bag and throwing away contents of that bag.
Keyonne Brooks obtained video of a Spirit Airlines gate agent at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport rifling through his bag, pocketing some of the contents and discarding the rest.
"She was dumping it out, maliciously," said Brooks.
He and the gate agent got into a bit of an argument at the gate before he departed. He asked for a manager before he left the desk to board.
Brooks accidentally left his carryon at the ticket counter on February 19 as he was flying home to Los Angeles after attending a funeral. He filed a lost-and-found claim. But when his bag didn't turn up, he put in a public records request to the airport for security footage at the gate.
"I had a gut feeling that something went wrong," said Brooks.
On the video, you see one Spirit worker approach Brooks's bag where he left it on the ledge of the gate desk. She then takes it behind the counter. Minutes later, after all the passengers on his flight board, she brings the bag over to a nearby seat where she rifles through it.
"I did notice that she was stuffing some things in her pocket. I don't know if that was my jewelry or my crystals," said Brooks.
In addition to his jewelry, Brooks says he also had life-saving medication in his bag.
The worker eventually moves over to a trash can, where she is joined by coworkers. You can see her open one pill bottle and pour out the contents right into the can -- all while her coworker appears to be taking cellphone video and laughing. The gate agent then throws the bag and the rest of its contents into the trash and casually walks away.
"My heart just sunk because for instance there was a family heirloom in there. If they don't find the garbage bag with my contents, then I'll never get that back," said Brooks.
Brooks did reach out to Spirit, and sent the airline the video, and they refunded the cost of his flight. He doesn't think this is an isolated incident.
"If it happened to me and I got the video footage, how many other people has this happened to?" said Brooks.
In a statement to KCAL News, Spirit says the contract workers have been suspended by the vendor pending an investigation, and that the vendor is expediting compensation for the items in Brooks's bag.
But Brooks says that vendor has asked him for receipts, which he says he doesn't have for his family heirlooms and jewelry.
Spirit Airlines sent this statement to KCAL News:
"We are aware of this matter, and our vendor suspended four of their employees at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) pending an investigation into the matter. Spirit Airlines is committed to treating all Guests with respect and delivering high-quality service, and we will take appropriate action as necessary following the completion of the vendor's investigation. Spirit has already issued a refund for the flight on February 23, and the vendor is expediting the compensation for the items."
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