Beth Gill’s husband and daughter were asked to check their cabin luggage on a flight in mid-June.
After their connecting flight was canceled, the family slept on the windowsill at the Charlotte airport.
They took a train home instead, but had to leave without their luggage. Her daughter’s bag is still missing.
An American Airlines passenger tells Insider that her daughter still hasn’t received her luggage two months after checking her on a flight from Arizona to North Carolina.
“We purposely packed carry-on bags because I didn’t want to worry about going through baggage claim and getting my luggage,” said passenger Beth Gill, echoing sentiments shared by other travelers with Insider. .
Gill, her husband, and two daughters spent a two-week vacation in Las Vegas in June, and were linked with Raleigh on a June 16 flight from Phoenix to Charlotte, North Carolina.
But on the first leg of the flight, which was delayed, American Airlines told her husband and their 11-year-old daughter that they needed to check their carry-on bags because there was no room in the overhead lockers. Gill claimed there was room in the lockers at the back of the plane.
“My husband was like, ‘This is ridiculous. They’re going to lose our stuff,'” Gill said. “He just had a feeling about it.”
When the family arrived, the Charlotte airport was in chaos, she said, with passengers scrambling to catch flights and “people everywhere.”
After several delays due to a lack of flight crew, American Airlines finally canceled the flight from Charlotte to Raleigh at 1:30 a.m. Friday, about two and a half hours after it took off, Gill said.
He was told that the next available flight to Raleigh — about 160 miles by road from Charlotte — was Sunday evening. Gill told Insider that the family was not offered housing or a rental car because neither was available.
She said she was unable to find a hotel for her family, and resorted to sleeping at the airport.
Gill said he and his family slept with beach blankets on the windowsills, using backpacks as pillows. Gill said her husband went down to retrieve his luggage based on the crew’s advice, but when he got there, he was told there was no crew working at the time to unload the plane.
Gill said her husband was told the baggage claim counted as outside the airport, meaning he was not allowed back into the terminal to join his family.
Instead of waiting until the Sunday evening flight, the Gill family took an early morning train to the rally on Friday. Tickets were priced at $94.50, a booking confirmation seen by Insider Shows. He also spent about $85 on Uber rides to and from train stations.
But there was a catch: Traveling by train instead of waiting until the next available flight meant she couldn’t collect two carry-on bags that were checked.
“We were told we couldn’t pick up our luggage from baggage claim in Charlotte until 7 a.m.,” Gill said. “We had to leave the airport without our daughter and husband’s luggage.”
Gill said American Airlines later told him both bags had been scanned at the airport in Raleigh.
Her husband got her luggage back but her daughter’s, which had Gill’s name and phone number written on it, was not returned two months after her flight, she said. She’s been to the airport three times in an unsuccessful attempt to get help, she told Insider, admitting she didn’t think the bag would ever be found.
Gill said the family received no compensation for the lost luggage, but the family did receive $83 each for the canceled leg of their flight.
“Customer service is non-existent,” he said. American Airlines did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Neither the Raleigh airport nor the Charlotte airport immediately responded to Insider’s requests for comment, which were made outside of normal business hours.
Airlines and airports are struggling to increase their staff to meet increased summer travel demand. Pandemics, strikes, and layoffs mean they don’t have many workers to conduct business as usual, leading to flight delays, cancellations, long lines at security, and lost luggage.
Passenger numbers at Charlotte – one of the world’s busiest airports – are back to pre-pandemic levels. In June, more than 4.3 million passengers flew to and from the airport, up nearly 40,000 from the same month in 2019.
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