The summer of lost suitcases | Opinion

Losing the suitcase is the nightmare of any traveler. Just the possibility of it happening is already cause for concern. More than one passenger holds his breath in front of the conveyor belt waiting for the luggage to reappear after the flight. Most of the time it does appear, which usually brings a few seconds of relief, but sometimes the fear becomes reality. And this summer is giving many reasons to fear the worst. The chaos that is taking place in some airports, which are trying to digest the return to normality in tourism after the pandemic, is also causing problems with suitcases, which do not land with their owners or are lost. Many affected express their anger on the networks, while other users give advice to avoid problems. Some are already talking about the summer of lost luggage.

“At Heathrow they have invented a new game that consists of climbing over mountains of suitcases to find yours,” said a UK television producer in a tweet a few days ago with an illustrative photo of the subject. “I lost one of the suitcases on a trip on June 22, we have filed a claim and we still don’t know anything,” a passenger from Germany replied days later. The main London airport is one of those that is having the most problems. But photos have also been seen with suitcase cemeteries in New York, Washington, Dublin and Amsterdam, among others.

Many airports are finding it difficult to return to old normalespecially with European flights that have Europe as their destination or origin. Lack of staff, unexpectedly high increase in demand, cancellations, delays… Passenger traffic has recovered almost 90% in June compared to 2019, but claims for cancellations and delays exceed pre-pandemic levels. And also complaints about lost luggage, which have increased by 30% in Europe compared to the summer of three years ago, according to data from the insurer Mapfre published by the Bloomberg agency. Most lost bags are eventually found, which means a refund is not necessary. But the process, between losing them and recovering them, has a high cost. Delta Airlines had to make an unusual flight from London to Detroit earlier this month loaded with a thousand lost bags… and no passengers. Pictures of luggage hoping for to board went viral.

No billing is the most obvious solution, but it’s not always possible. The newest recommendation is to place a geolocation device in the suitcase to at least know where the luggage is, although it does not always help much. For example, a user comments on Twitter that he landed in Saudi Arabia, but his suitcase was not in the hold of the plane, but was still at the airport of origin, as his tracker. However, this detailed information was of little use to him: “It seems that the airline is doing the minimum to help.”

While waiting to retrieve their luggage, many travelers show on the networks, in the most optimistic tone possible, photos of their tourist trips wearing the only clothes they have, or sharing the map that shows where their suitcase is, sometimes at thousands of kilometers. And, of course, there is no shortage of comments from tweeters who try to minimize these “typical problems of the first world”.

To Dermot Lennon losing the suitcase did not seem like a small thing, however. At the end of June he returned to Dublin after going on vacation to Australia, but his luggage was lost, according to what he published. Business Insider. So, at the beginning of July, after waiting to retrieve his things without success, he bought the cheapest plane ticket he could find (a one-way trip to Glasgow for 18 euros) to have access to the departure lounge and the claims desk. airport, where he finally found his suitcase. “It was total chaos,” he said. “There were thousands of suitcases everywhere.”

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