It's that time of the year again when people are paranoid about holiday travel — weather, security, flight delays, and of course, baggage.
When San Jose resident Chase Platon saw what appeared to be baggage handlers in Southwest Airlines uniforms throwing bags and cheering each other on while he was waiting for a flight at San Jose Mineta International Airport on Tuesday, he captured it on video, and like all concerned citizens, he says he informed Southwest about it.
But Southwest adamantly denied the handlers worked for the airline. In fact, the workers were wearing Alaska Airlines uniforms and the bag they were tossing around was filled with magazines and didn't belong to a passenger, an Alaska spokesperson said late Wednesday afternoon.
Platon, who was sitting between gates 25-26 in Terminal B, said the bag tossing went on for about 30 minutes, at which point he walked over to the employees manning the Southwest gate and informed them about it. "They tried to justify it by saying it may not be a customer bag," Platon said.
It turns out, it wasn't a customer bag. Nonetheless, Alaska is apologizing, saying this type of behavior is never appropriate, no matter who the bag belongs to.
"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."
Platon had earlier posted the video to Southwest's Facebook page to alert the airline about it. "It seemed inappropriate … It looked like they were all having fun. An airport is not the kind of place where you'd expect something like this, especially in this day and age."
A Southwest customer rep told Platon in a private Facebook message "the agents in the video are actually not Southwest employees, but agents from another airline."
A Southwest spokesperson told NBC Bay Area that the airline reviewed the video, shared it with their local leaders and confirmed that the individuals in the video were not employed by Southwest or wearing Southwest uniforms.
"Honestly, I couldn't believe it," Platon says of the incident. "What with all the stories about the kid who snuck away on the plane to go to Hawaii — obviously the airport is having issues with security. Looks like they are not keeping up with standards."
San Jose Airport officials said they couldn't comment on the video, calling it "an airline issue, not an airport issue."