NEW ORLEANS — Spirit Airlines is apologizing after gate agents were caught on camera throwing away a passenger's personal belongings that he left behind in his carry-on suit case.
It happened at Armstrong International Airport.
In a statement to our partners at KCAL-TV News in Los Angeles, Spirit Airlines says the contract workers in the video, have been suspended by the company they work for, pending an investigation, and that they are expediting compensation for the belongings in the passenger's bag.
But Eyewitness News talked directly to that passenger, and he says that is not what is happening.
It's surveillance video from MSY airport that Keyonne Brooks finds it difficult to watch.
“I still have not been able to watch the entire video because it's just too gut wrenching for me. And knowing the medication that I had in there is very expensive, very hard to get, and I needed it. It's taken a lot out of me. I'm just appalled at their behavior,” Keyonne Brooks said.
Keyonne says he left his carry-on bag at the Spirit gate counter on February 19. He was headed back to Los Angeles from his uncle's funeral in New Orleans, that's when he got in a disagreement with the agent over doing a gate check of his large suitcase.
“She said that I'd have to reschedule my flight instead of doing a gate check, and I knew that was not true because of my travels with my nonprofit.”
He asked for a manager and paid an extra fee to take it on the plane, but he forgot his small carry on at the desk.
He was told to file a lost and found report when he got home, but when his carry-on never showed up there, he requested the video from Armstrong International. And that's when he says he saw the gate agent, and others he never interacted with, taking his things. It appears they hand off some belongings, while pouring his life-saving medication out, while taking cell phone pictures and laughing, and throwing his keys away.
“There were my house keeps, my car keys. When I got back to L.A., I was not able to get into my home right away. I was not even able to start my car. Everything was halted until I paid locksmiths,” Brooks said.
In the bag was valuable jewelry. One pendant was a very sentimental family heirloom. Keyonne says he got a members of the New Orleans City Council, Councilmen Green and Giarrusso, involved, who told him Spirit, and GAT Airline Ground Support, would make him whole again. But he says those companies are only agreeing to pay part of his loss now. So, he's hired an attorney.
When asked if he’ll ever want to come back to New Orleans, he answered, “Oh, I certainly want to come back to New Orleans, because my father lives there, and my siblings, but I certainly will never take Spirit Airlines again.”
Eyewitness News asked for a comment from MSY officials, but were told, this is a matter for Spirit Airlines.
We have sent a few messages to the Spirit communications department and still have gotten no response.
We also called GAT Airline Ground Support and were told there was no one we could talk to about this matter.
Brooks’ attorney, Warren McKenna, said the airport responded to Brooks' request for the video very fast, allowing them to have the evidence.