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lost luggageAccording to a report by SITA, a company that collects information for airlines, carriers mishandled 12.07 pieces of luggage for every 1,000 passengers worldwide this year. Yet while it’s statistically unlikely that your airline will lose your bag, it seems like every flier has had a lost luggage experience at one point in his or her travel career. Last week, we blogged about 3 High-Tech Luggage Tags That Will Save Your Trip and invited our readers to share their lost bag stories. In response, we received more than a hundred tales of woe — proof that suitcases lost by the airlines are, unfortunately, pretty common.

What to Do When Your Luggage Is Lost

The bad news: You lost your luggage. The good news: We’re sending free SuperSmartTags to three randomly selected readers who commented on last week’s post. Congratulations to agnes daily, Marie Elise Marino Gervais and Linda Duran — our winners!

Below are five lost luggage horror stories submitted by our readers. Have you shared your story yet? Post it in the comments!

Just Picture the Audience in Their Underwear
“I had gone to a national convention, where I was to receive an award in front of around 2000. Of course, my luggage got lost. I arrived on a Sunday and could find no clothing stores in downtown Denver. I was so embarrassed to be standing on stage, in a T-shirt and jeans, among all the suits.” — Gregory Ellis

Lobster and Found
“My daughter in Netherlands wanted to surprise our Dutch son-in-law with a true Maine lobster meal for his February birthday. So, as a Maine native living in Maine, I steamed lobsters, shelled them, ‘ZZZZip-locked’ the pieces, secured the tasty bodies and claws tightly between ‘blue gel-packs,’ and froze the units. On the morning of the overnight trip, the lobster packs went into a thermal picnic bag and stayed safely outside in the ‘wicked cold’ February weather.

“All went well on the trip except for a fact we discovered at Schiphol Airport: The lobsters went to Paris while we went to Amsterdam! However, the thermal bag arrived about 36 hours later and all was well! The lobster was still frozen solid, and the son-in law had his birthday wish granted.” — agnes dailey

Lightning Struck Twice
“Flying from Cleveland to Denver for a visit with friends, my luggage was lost. It was finally returned to me one week later, an hour before I was due to leave for the airport. Upon checking it in, I mentioned that it had been lost for a week and to please take good care of it. The reply: ‘Oh, don’t worry. Lightening never strikes twice.’ As you can guess, it did strike again and the luggage was lost forever.” — S J Foster

Bag and Switch
“On the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport, an older man took my carry-on bag when getting off the shuttle heading to his car. I took his look-alike bag into the airport. Prior to check-in I opened my carry-on to get my ID out and was shocked to find a suitcase full of men’s underwear! I had no itinerary, no identification, no meds, no money, no credit cards, and no munchie foods for my 7+ hour trip. The airport was three hours from my home, so there was no way to return home for the needed items. Luckily, the airline personnel asked me a bunch of security questions and let me on the plane. A pharmacy at my destination gave me a temp supply of medication, and the friend who was meeting me at my destination helped me out monetarily until we could get to a bank on Monday. The gentleman who took my bag called my contact info the next day and generously sent my bag to my parent’s home. What a nightmare. … Now all of my bags are adorned with hideous ribbons and flowers tied to the handles.” — Teresa

Snowed Under
“I learned the hard way never to put my home address on the outside of my suitcase. I was on a three-month work assignment to China and my huge suitcase was lost. I had nothing when I arrived in China. Three months later, I arrived home to a suitcase covered with eight inches of snow.” — Joan

– written by Caroline Costello

9 Responses to “5 Lost Luggage Horror Stories”

  1. Rachel says:

    We´d gone back from Spain to the UK for my mother-in-laws funeral and our bag didn´t come off the plane. That´s because it never went on. I had to borrow clothes from my sister-in-law who is not only thinner but shorter than me, a definate case of not looking my best or even appropriately dressed.

  2. Samantha says:

    Those are some good ones!! Wow factor in all of them.

  3. Zo Sidi says:

    If you have used your suitcase for a previous trip, as an extra precaution, always remove the little (white) bar-code type lable the airlines stick on there, before you check your luggage in. It was explained to me by the airline, that these bar-codes help to direct the luggage. If your previous trip was to London, and this trip is to Paris, your luggage could end up in London.
    I do not know how much weight this bit of info given by the airline carries. However, I always remove all prior travel stickers and I have not had a lost luggage experience…

  4. Bob Barrows says:

    We were on a Panama Canal Cruise the week T5 Heathrow opened. Furtunately we use Mancheter. Several peoples baggage was lost and at every port they were promised it will be at the next. They were however offered free laundry by the cruiseline……trouble is they only had what they boarded with !

  5. Michelle Beach says:

    I was on my way to Lexington, Kentucky for a wedding. First, the airline didn’t bother to tell me that my connecting flight was cancelled prior to my leaving NY. When I got to Pittsburgh, I was redirected to a flight to Louisville where I was to be put in a cab to get to Lexington. Of course, my luggage didn’t make it (though my travel companion’s did). I was instructed to get in the cab, and my luggage would surely be waiting for me in Lexington. Of course, it was not. I checked back half a dozen times and was about ready to head to the wedding ceremony in jeans when I received the call that my luggage had been found and could be picked up. I changed into my dress in the airport bathroom!

  6. Paul says:

    We travelled London Heathrow to JFK. When one of our ‘indestructable’ Samsonite suitcases came off the carousel it was covered in oil and there was a hole punched through from one side to the other and the clothes were hanging out. It looked as though the prongs of a forklift truck had been punched through the sides of the case. Got compensation from the airline. Told Samsonite that their cases were not indestructable and received two replacement matching cases from them. Sometimes good can come from bad!

  7. farey says:

    This is an article i wrote about lost luggage on my blog. Please take a look.

    http://fareyferrai.blogspot.com/2011/03/travel-tips-i-lost-my-luggage-what.html

  8. Luggage Shipping says:

    This is one of the most educational posts I’ve read in awhile, I’ll be sure to add you to my favorites and include your feed in my msn news reader. Thank you!

  9. Barbara says:

    Great story. Did the airline ever explain what caused the damage to your bag?

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