Man leaves iPad on plane, later tracks device to apartments. Now what?

Built-in apps can help you find your iPhone or other devices if you lose them, but then what? One viewer reached out to our KPRC 2 Investigative team when he pinpointed the location of his expensive iPad but couldn’t get help getting it back. Should he erase the missing device? What could the airlines do to help him out? KPRC 2 is working to get answers.

What should you do if you leave a device on a plane?

The last time Mark Goodman saw his iPad was on a Southwest Airlines red-eye flight to Houston from Denver. He realized he left it on the plane the following morning at home. He panicked and then remembered the “find my iPhone” app that comes on every Apple device.

“And I thought I’ll just pull it up,” explains Goodman. “And lo and behold, there it was at 8501 Broadway, which is initially I thought, well, that’s the off-site lost and found for Southwest Airlines.”

But he wasn’t that lucky. The address actually led him and us to this apartment complex just up the road from Hobby Airport. He could see where it was on the map, he just could not get to it.

“Here’s my phone here in Bellaire,” Goodman shows us from his device. “And there’s the iPad located just north of Hobby Airport”

Goodman reported the information to Southwest Airlines hoping they would check it out. But after a couple of days, Southwest sent him this message,” We have not yet located your missing article.”

“I thought, you know, time is of the essence,” said Goodman.

Time was ticking, because as soon as Goodman’s iPad battery died he would no longer be able to track his device. Goodman wrestled with wiping his iPad clean remotely to protect his personal information or leaving it so he could continue to track his device.

“It was totally frustrating to be able to see it on here and not be able to go get it,” he said.

At a dead-end, Goodman finally disabled his iPad. And that’s what Apple says you should do too.


What should you do if you lose your iPad?

1. If your iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen, first use the “find my app” to try and locate it.

2. Mark it as lost. That locks the device remotely, keeping your information secure and disabling Apple pay. This function also allows you to send out an alert from the device.

3. Report the device lost or stolen to the police.

4. File it with your insurance company if covered.

5. Erase your device remotely and remove it from your account.

Police say it is important that you keep a record of the serial number on your device. If it is stolen and the thief tries to sell or pawn it cops may actually be able to recover it. For Goodman, he never did find his missing iPad.


Here is the full statement from Southwest Airlines regarding Goodman’s lost iPad:

“Our people take great pride in doing everything they can to locate items customers may have lost while traveling on Southwest Airlines. As part of our lost and found process, we will make every effort to locate the item within 30 days. However, if we haven’t found it at the end of that time, it’s unlikely the item was turned in to a southwest employee. Ultimately, Southwest is not liable for unchecked items left onboard.

If a customer realizes they left an item on board an aircraft, they’re encouraged to speak with a customer service agent prior to leaving the airport to allow them the opportunity to try to retrieve the item before the aircraft departs. If a customer has already left the airport, they can contact our lost and found team to file a report in which they’ll be asked to provide the brand, size, color, model, and serial number. You can learn more about Southwest’s lost and found process here. https://app.Nettracer.Aero/lf-pax/southwest/lostandfound/landing

In this particular situation, we’ve searched for the iPad and have not yet located it. Based on the information you’ve provided, we also encourage the Customer to reach out to local law enforcement.”


About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.