Baggage Handlers Caught Playing Toss the Luggage

Alaska Airlines baggage handlers in San Jose, California were taped tossing luggage. Apparently… for half an hour while other employees cheered them on.

Customer Chase Platon reported it to the Southwest employees at a nearby gate.

“They tried to justify it by saying it may not be a customer bag,” Platon said.

Alaska Airlines claims it wasn’t passenger luggage.

“Regrettably, our employees were tossing a company rollaboard bag that was filled with magazines as part of an employee game,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “No passenger bag was used for this activity. This game should not have been played at the airport. The optics of this video are unfortunate and we apologize for any confusion this has caused San Jose travelers or Southwest Airlines.”

I suspect that given:

  • how long they were playing the game
  • that Southwest has a 20 minute luggage delivery guarantee
  • departing luggage would have needed to be loaded

That it may well have been empty bags, perhaps extra bags Alaska keeps in the luggage office. I once had a bag I checked with Alaska come out on the carousel completely shredded. They handed me a new (much cheaper) bag on the spot so I could continue my journey.

This still doesn’t address why Alaska baggage handlers would be playing with the airline’s carry ons (or where the ‘magazines’ would have come from).

They may have been inspired by these Air Canada baggage handlers. But at least they weren’t planting bullets in luggage. And they weren’t stealing from luggage. Like these folks.

In my view though it would be far more fun to ride the baggage claim carousel than to throw baggage. As they say, “your mileage may vary.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. No, that is very obviously NOT an empty bag. Half an hour? What is this they suffer from, “terminal” boredom?

  2. Clearly this is a “luck of the draw” situation if ever there was . . . I’m in my 60s, and nothing ever happened to MY luggage (aside from TSA forgetting to put the lock back on . . . twice!) until this year. In late January, my wife and I flew SFO-JFK; EWR-JFK. While in New York, we purchased two small wheels of cheese from local dairies we can’t get in California, tightly wrapped them inside ziplock bags and packed them in my suitcase. Upon arrival at SFO, not only was my TSA-approved lock missing once again, but the zipper on the main compartment was broken, and on the smaller compartment, the zipper had been pulled away from the seam.

    Now, literally, this was the first time I can ever recall something happening to me. Filing a complaint with the TSA is all-but useless, and a waste of time. However, when I took the suitcase to TUMI for repair, they ultimately decided to replace it, but since they no longer make that type, I received full credit towards a new suitcase. This one is hard-sided with a built-in lock. ;^)

  3. @Gary, while traveling only with a carry-on certainly has its advantages, sometimes it’s just impossible to do. For example, three weeks in Europe requires a large suitcase — even when doing laundry — and a specialized suitcase to carry 12 bottles of wine.

    As a man, I certainly have it easier than my wife — no makeup to pack, no “product” for hair (I can always use those little bottles in the hotel rooms), etc., etc. — so I’m traveling for 3 days or so, yes: only a carry-on plus briefcase. More than that, and I’m checking a bag. My wife, on the other hand — and especially when attending or presenting at a conference — is checking luggage!

  4. The magazines referred to is the “Alaska Airlines Magazine” that goes in passenger seat back pockets. These magazines are often on a pallet or stacked in the baggage make-up area (bag room), so the cleaners/provisioners have easy access to them when doing overnight aircraft cleans. That addresses the “or where the ‘magazines would have come from” comment you made. It’s amazing, you did not know this info. I thought you knew everything about the airline industry!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.