Passenger takes hand luggage to avoid bag getting lost – only for airline to check it in and lose it anyway

An American Airlines (AA) passenger said she took hand luggage on her trip to avoid the risk of her bag going missing – but that it ended up getting lost anyway after it was checked in without her knowledge.

Lara Watson flew from Wilmington, North Carolina to Toronto on 21 August with a stop in Washington DC.

She told Insider that she had flown with just hand luggage because of the post-pandemic travel chaos during the summer that had seen masses of bags getting lost at understaffed airports.

But more than three weeks after her trip, Ms Watson still has not had her bag returned, she said.

She booked with AA for both flights. On the first flight, her bag was gate-checked as there was no room in the cabin’s overhead lockers.

After boarding the plane in Wilmington, Ms Watson said she was one of a number of passengers who were told to pass their bags to the front so that they could be put in the luggage hold.

Flight attendants held each bag up and asked the owner to shout out their seat number. The owner of each bag was then given a corresponding luggage tag.

When this happens, bags are typically returned to passengers on the jetbridge when they get off the plane.

But Ms Watson claimed that flight attendants told her, when the plane landed in Washington DC, that her bag had been checked in for her flight to Toronto – without her prior permission or knowledge.

She boarded the flight to Toronto Pearson Airport, which she described as a “mess” because the luggage carousel for her flight was switched several times.

In Toronto, her bag never showed up during the hour she waited. When Ms Watson approached the AA desk, she claims that she was directed to a bag that matched her luggage tag but was not hers.

Ms Watson alleged that the staff member “was trying to convince” her that the bag belonged to her before they then explained that her luggage tag had got mixed up with that of another passenger who had finished his journey in Washington DC.

She was told that her bag would be located in Washington DC and transported to her within 24 hours.

But, almost a month after her trip, Ms Watson claims not to have received her bag, nor the $3,500 worth of items inside it.

“I feel very, very mistrustful of American Airlines specifically,” she told Insider.

“Having them literally take my bag and check it without telling me – I don’t think I’m ever gonna fly American Airlines again.”

Both of the flights were booked with AA and were operated by Republic Airways as American Eagle.

The Independent has contacted AA and Republic Airways for comment.

Related posts

Latest posts

As Liz Truss scraps smart motorways, what will it mean for drivers?

Smart motorways have proved highly controversial since they were introduced in 2006. The aim is to create much-needed capacity to reduce congestion on key...

First electric ‘commuter plane’ takes maiden flight

All-electric air travel is closer to becoming a reality after the maiden voyage of a battery-powered plane was a success.The start-up company Eviation completed...

You can now book the Hocus Pocus cottage on Airbnb

The creaky cottage from the cult classic film Hocus Pocus has been brought to life for two guests to stay in for one night...