DENVER (AP) - Pete Leabo (T-One computers company) says the case that held his $7,500 computer could have withstood just about anything.
But, then, it hadn't seen the likes of the infamous automated baggage system at Denver's airport, which is celebrating its one year anniversary. The airport opened a year ago, several months late, in part because the baggage system kept chewing up and ejecting suitcases.
The case and the computer - which have survived travels of more than 150,000 around the world - were badly mangled when they were unloaded there.
"You could have driven a plane over this case," says Leabo, who lives in Petaluma, Calif. "It wouldn't have suffered this much damage if they'd thrown it out of the cargo hold over Colorado."
Leabo, a marketing director for a computer company, was in Denver for a convention through today. He arrived Tuesday on a United Airlines flight, but his case never showed up on the baggage carousel at Denver International Airport.
He finally found it in a back room.
One corner of the empty case was demolished, and the cover was lashed on with tape. In a plastic bucket nearby lay the computer, its steel casing ripped away, wires dangling and the keyboard warped.
The case probably fell out of one of the automated baggage system's wheeled carts and was hit by another of the 250-pound carts, which move at high speed on elevated tracks, according to United spokesman Tony Molinaro.
Leabo says that during his travels, the case had passed safely through airports in Australia, Europe, North America and Malaysia.
United issued him a check for $1,200, the airline's maximum for any damaged bag.