If the insane cost wasn’t enough, here’s another reason to try to avoid ever checking your bag: An American Airlines employee allegedly stole a woman’s phone number off her bag tag and used it to send her more than 100 terrifying, harassing messages.
According to the Washington Post, Ashley Barno received the first text from an unknown number as she was boarding a Chicago-bound flight from San Diego in April. The message was a greeting, but then took a decidedly creepier turn when the sender added, “Btw I must tell you that you are gorgeous!:”
Barno thanked the sender for his flattery and asked again for his name. How had he gotten her number, she asked, and why was he texting her?
“You guess!!” he told her, adding that he worked for American Airlines, which was operating the flight Barno was waiting to board.
“I just saw you at the airport again!” he wrote, telling her in a later message: “you are looking very gorgeous in grey top today!!”
At this point, Barno was obviously scared, but the messages only got more disturbing after she got on the plane—and realized the sender was on board, too.
The man, who eventually identified himself as “Ahmad,” told Barno he saw her get onto the plane, and said he watched silently as she passed his aisle 15 seat.
He told her he’d be able to get her a better seat.
“You want to sit next to me?” he wrote.
He asked, twice, “Whats ur seat number?”
He told Barno he’d like to “chat the whole flight” and then sent another plea: “Will you join me?? I have two seats open next to me!”
During their back-and-forth, the sender initially claimed that Barno had given him her phone number. But, when she pressed him, he wrote, “Honestly I got it from ur bagtag.”
Barno, whose luggage was affixed with a tag listing her name, number and address, responded, “Not ok! Not cool.”
Barno told the sender to leave her alone and notified a flight attendant about the situation. After they landed in Chicago, the man was escorted off the plane, and the flight attendant informed Barno that this “wasn’t the first time he’s done something like this.” Barno has since filed a lawsuit against American on allegations of negligent hiring, sexual harassment and stalking.
So maybe in addition to not checking your bag, don’t let anyone even look at your bag! Maybe don’t bring a bag at all? I’m sorry that it’s come to this!