Valley photographer claims items were damaged, stolen on American Airlines flight

A Valley photographer claims she was on her way to a wedding when some of her photograph gear was damaged and she believes some items were stolen.

Melissa Fossum says the airline made her check her bags and now they're telling her it's not their fault.

She says when she landed at her final destination, she was shocked by the condition of her equipment. Fossum says one camera couldn't even be used and the memory cards for the camera were missing.

"I think it's ridiculous that they're not taking responsibility for this."

On October 6, Fossum was traveling from Phoenix to Cleveland to photograph a wedding. With her, she had a traveling camera bag that she says is meant to be used as a carry-on. Fossum says while she was connecting at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the American Airlines crew said she had to check all of her equipment because it wouldn't fit.

"The issue is it was a regional jet. I don't know if it would have fit or not, but I'm really frustrated that I couldn't at least try. I would have been happy to take some stuff out," she said.

Fossum says when she landed, she immediately checked her gear. When she opened the bag, she saw one of her cameras had a cracked lens, scuffs and a screw sticking out of it. She also noticed three memory cards were gone.

Fossum wrote several e-mails to the airline. They responded with a letter, stating in they would look into the matter, but per their conditions of carriage, photographic equipment is among those items excluded from coverage.

"For the damage claim it added up to a little over $4,000 because I had to list what I paid for the equipment. It's currently with Cannon right now. My initial estimate was $400 for repairs. The lens would cost $200 to repair. I'm still waiting to hear about the camera itself," said Fossum.

Luckily, Fossum was able to make do and photograph the wedding.

The equipment is now being repaired and she says the camera's manufacturer said the damages were not consistent from being just rough handled or even dropped while in the protective bag.

We reached out to American Airlines and they haven't responded to our request for a comment.