Lost luggage: 11-year-old still missing belongings two months after American Airlines flight

·3 min read
The passenger’s father had his bag successfully returned to him, while her’s remains missing  (Getty Images)
The passenger’s father had his bag successfully returned to him, while her’s remains missing (Getty Images)

The mother of an 11-year-old American Airlines passenger has said her daughter is still waiting for her carry-on lugagge two months after a flight from Arizona to North Carolina.

Beth Gill, her husband and two daughters travelled in June on a two-week holiday to Las Vegas before taking a flight from Phoenix to Charlotte, North Carolina on 16 June, for a connection to Raleigh, North Carolina.

After experiencing delays on the first leg of the flight, the airline told Ms Gill’s husband and daughter that they would have to check in their carry-on bags as there was no room in the overhead compartments. However, Ms Gill says there was visible space in the compartments at the back of the plane.

“We purposely packed carry-on bags because I didn't want to have to worry about going through baggage claims and having to get our luggage,” Ms Gill told Insider.

“My husband was like, ‘This is ridiculous. They’re going to lose our luggage,’” she added. “He just had a feeling about it.”

On arrival at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the family experienced more delays due to a lack of flight crew. American Airlines eventually cancelled the flight from Charlotte to Raleigh at 1.30am on Friday morning, about two and a half hours after it was due to depart.

Ms Gill was told the next available flight to Raleigh, which is a 160-mile drive from Charlotte, was on Sunday evening. The family was not offered either accommodation or a rental car, they say, with the airline saying both were unavailable.

As no hotels were available, the family ended up sleeping in the airport. Staff advised them to collect their luggage, but once Ms Gill’s husband went to baggage claim, he was told there was nobody working at the time who could unload the plane.

Her husband was then told that the baggage claim zone was “outside the airport”, which meant he wasn’t allowed back into the terminal to join his family, Ms Gill said.

The Gill family decided to catch an early-morning train to Raleigh on Friday instead of waiting until the flight on Sunday. However, this meant that they couldn’t collect the two bags that had been checked in.

They were told they couldn’t pick up their luggage from baggage claim in Charlotte until 7am, Ms Gill said.

American Airlines later informed Ms Gill that both bags had been transferred to Raleigh airport.

However, while her husband’s bag was successfully returned, Ms Gill’s daughter’s luggage remains missing, two months after their flight.

Ms Gill has been to the airport three times to get help and says she is convinced the bag will never be found.

She added that the family has not received any compensation for the lost luggage, but that they were refunded $83 (£69) per person for the cancelled leg of their flight.

The travel industry has been heavily affected by increased travel demand this summer, as well as staff shortages across airlines, airports and ground handling companies.

In June, another American Airlines passenger spent several days without his luggage, but eventually found it himself thanks to the help of his iPad.

The Independent has approached American Airlines for comment.