- I flew British Airways from London Heathrow to Basel, Switzerland a few days before Christmas.
- Staff at the airport asked me to check my cabin bag because the flight was “full”.
- My bag failed to make it to Basel and I had to spend more than $400 on essentials.
This year Insider has published hundreds of stories about travel chaos, from Qantas booking a baby and her parents on different flights, to an Air Canada passenger who was made to check a carry-on bag only for it to go missing.
I know now how that Air Canada passenger must have felt after flying British Airways from Heathrow to Basel, Switzerland on December 20. My partner and I had one large checked-in suitcase and two cabin bags.
Having previously reported on passengers’ woes, I was wary when asked to check in my carry-on bag as well.
However, the agents were very convincing and kept saying it’d get to Basel no matter what. “We promise it will, otherwise you can sue,” one joked.
They wanted me to check the bag because my flight was “full.” After asking several times if my bag would make it on the plane, I gave in.
We boarded almost an hour late but landed just 10 minutes behind schedule and then made our way to the luggage carousel.
It was then that a text message appeared on my phone: “We are sorry to report that 1 checked bag/s did not reach your flight today. Please go to the airport baggage desk for more info.” It also contained a reference number for the claim the airline had already opened for me.
I spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out exactly which bag was missing. It was, of course, my carry-on containing all my clothes, underwear, jacket, and other essential items worth about $1,000 all up.
After we got picked up at the airport, we went to a store to get some new socks and underwear. The following day we went shopping to get some shirts and trousers at a cost of more than $400.
A spokesperson for British Airways told Insider: “We always do everything we can to reunite our customers with their delayed baggage as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
The airline has told me it would reimburse me for the purchases and add 25,000 Avios (frequent flyer) points to my account.
I appreciate how busy it gets over the holiday season and that airlines must deal with thousands of these problems every day. However, I underestimated just how stressful it is if your luggage goes missing.
I was annoyed at myself for not trusting my instincts – and there was still room left in the overhead bins when we boarded the flight.