Woman gets iPad back after forgetting it on United Airlines plane

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7 On Your Side's Michael Finney helped a woman get her iPad back after she forgot it on a United Airlines plane.

Did you ever dash off a bus, taxi or airplane and leave something behind? It's a terrible feeling to think you might never see it again. It happens every day to millions of people like Jan Rhoades of San Francisco.

"It was the most frustrating experience ever,'' Rhoades said. "They had it, they knew it, I still don't know why I couldn't get it."

It happened when Rhoades was on her way to Mexico. She flew from San Francisco to Houston then dashed off the plane to catch a connecting flight. "The flight attendants always announce to be sure to look around and I always do,'' she said. "But it didn't seem like I missed anything."

It wasn't until she was halfway across the terminal that she got the uneasy feeling. "I stopped to see if I had everything, my iPod, my iPhone, my iPad,'' she said. "Then I realized it. 'Oh no. The iPad's not there."'

Rhoades had stuck the iPad in the seatback during the flight to Houston and then forgot about it. "It was even behind some magazines,'' she recalls.

She had to just keep going or miss her next flight. "There wasn't time to go back, and I didn't know if it would matter if I did go back and would it still be there?" she asked.

She arrived in Mexico and immediately filed a report online with United Airlines' lost and found. "I got an immediate answer,'' she recalls. 'We got your report, we'll be looking for it.' "

That sounded very promising. "I figured someone would turn it in. It was of no use to anyone," she said.

Later United emailed her saying it was still searching for that iPad. But Rhoades noticed the description on file was wrong. It was in a black case, not multi colored and her home page showed a photo of a little girl in a blue dress. She tried to correct it, but it kept showing up wrong.

She finally called lost and found and got someone in a call center. "I said it's an 'iPad in a black case' and she said, 'we have 1,000 iPads in black cases in the Houston warehouse,'' Rhoades recalls.

Finally Rhoades got the serial number from Apple, gave it to United Airlines and bingo. "They said 'yes we have that serial number, someone will contact you."'
Except no one ever did contact her. Rhoades kept calling and kept getting different answers. "They said 'we haven't found it yet.' I said 'yeah, you have' and then they checked again and they said 'oh yeah, we have it. '"

Every time it was found, she says no one could tell her how to get it back. "I had gotten really frustrated,'' Rhoads said. "No one knew at all how I could get it and then I called 7 On Your Side." ABC7 contacted United Airlines and within hours it located her iPad, and shipped it directly to her. So what went wrong?

United released a statement saying, "we are looking into this matter with our team to fully understand what caused the delay. We returned this customer's iPad and apologized for the delay."

"Oh it was such a relief,'' Rhoades said as she opened her familiar iPad. "I was afraid it would be the wrong one."

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travel7 On Your SideiPadUnited Airlines
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