Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nexus Q from Google I/O stolen by airport security

One of the giveaways at this year's Google I/O conference was the newly announced Nexus Q streaming media player. I was particularly looking forward to tinkering with this device, because it seems like it has a lot of potential to be unlocked (it runs Android ICS, and during the keynote they referred to the USB port as being for "general hackability").

Because I had so much else to carry (my camera equipment, laptop, Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus were in my carry-on backpack), I checked my suitcase, which had the Nexus Q and the Chromebox in it, as well as the Sphero I bought for my four-year-old son.

The travel experience was pretty bad. I had arrived in good time for my 3pm flight home via Chicago, but at the gate it was delayed to 4pm, because they didn't have any flight crew available, meaning that I was going to miss my connection. United told me that I'd be stuck in Chicago until the next morning, and reluctantly admitted that they'd have to arrange a hotel room for the night. (But not themselves — they said I'd have to find someone to arrange that when I got there.)

Sitting on the plane, we all watched in bemusement as standby passengers were repeatedly shuffled on and off, and out of the window I saw pets being dropped off (three times, as the mobile conveyor belt had disappeared), and then taken away again on a baggage cart. It all seemed like a bit of a circus. Eventually it was announced that the flight would be further delayed until 5pm, and then as 5pm passed they told us that there were dents in the plane, the depth of which they needed to measure, and that they'd have a maintenance decision by 6pm. I got off the plane to get a drink and stretch my legs, and was back in my seat just in time for them to tell us that they were pulling the plane out of service. On the way out they gave me a slip of paper with a number to call, which I did, and was offered a 10pm flight via Philadelphia on US Airways, getting me home at 9am the next morning. I took it, as it was my best option, but as I was at work the next day I ended up having to be up for 30 hours straight.

When I arrived at my home airport, I picked up my bag from the United flight it had come in on, but when I got it home and unpacked, I discovered with horror that my Nexus Q was missing, having been replaced by a Notice of Inspection from Covenant Aviation Security. CAS only seem to accept complaints by mail, fax or leaving a voicemail, so I'm starting with the people I can talk to on the phone first.

Also missing were: the Sphero charger, which means my son only got about ten minutes of playing with that before I had to tell him we'd need to buy a new charger; the chargers for my shaver and beard trimmer, which can't be replaced on their own, so I'll have to buy whole new ones; my iPad desk stand; and a bottle of heartburn pills. Thankfully, the Sphero itself and the Chromebox were not taken.

I almost managed to put in a claim with United, but at the last moment the agent told me that he couldn't submit it, because they won't take responsiblity for my bag due to me flying with US -- despite my bag flying with United! Are US going to tell me they're not responsible because the they didn't transport the bag?

This is a sad and frustrating ending to what had been a really great week.


  1. Don't worry, they'll offer you a $150 voucher (that can only be used by you on United in the next 365 days). Try to return it as a matter of principle. They'll send you another.

  2. File a police report. You got your bag, but items were removed from it. This isn't a baggage claim, it is a theft. If the local police give you a hard time, contact the officer on duty at the airport. This is his job.
    Send a copy to United. They carried the baggage, they are responsible. Trying to say you were wrong when you took another carrier is an interesting twist. United should have rerouted the luggage with you (FAA Regulations). Even so, they would still have been responsible for the bag because you turned the bag over to them. Be firm, put pressure on United and the security firm, and remember this is a criminal issue, not a customer service issue.

  3. Actually, you need to file your claim with US Airways first. Since they were the terminating carrier, they are responsible for all bag claims. Note that while your situation is deplorable, the airlines contract of carriage dictates that they are not responsible for any loss of items over $500. The moral of the story is that you should NEVER, EVER, EVER check valuable items in your luggage. They pass through tons of hands before reaching you and tracking the culprit is nearly impossible.

    1. The total value is less than $500 (the Nexus Q will retail for $299), so at least that part shouldn't be a problem.

    2. This had better be resolved. May the force be with you.

    3. someone should invent a camera that records when luggage is opened

  4. I've had mindblowingly terrible experiences with United. I will never fly them again and encourage all my friends to avoid them like the plague. Sorry about your Nexus Q. This hit reddit so hopefully more people will turn away in disgust from the disgrace that united has become.

  5. I doubt it is the carrier and more likely the security in San Fran. I also had a Notice of Inspection and had my Nexus Q box opened. It doesn't look like they took anything but I'm double checking now. You think there would be some sort of checks and balances around this.

  6. This is horrible. In general, I'm ultra paranoid about my electronics and go out of my way to carry on *everything* because I don't trust anyone but myself to handle my belongings.

    No lecture from me though on packing unique/expensive items in checked luggage as it shouldn't have happened in the first place.

    Thieves should eat s and die.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

  7. Submitting TSA claims are a joke - they either ignore you outright pretending they never got the claim or just reject it off hand.

    I've been there and done that - a whole damn mini desktop PC lifted from my checked bag (yep dumb but who steals a whole PC?). I took photos of the knife cut bag, TSA inspection note and receipts. Got notice my claim was received then nothing. This was 4 years ago and no response to 2 filed claims.

  8. You should make a song about it and put it on YouTube. Pretty much only thing that works. (Google "United breaks guitars" if you don't know what I'm talking about)

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