Robert Gentel flew from Costa Rica to Miami to retrieve his stranded luggage.
The bag got stuck in Miami after its flight was canceled in June.
The airline industry is dealing with a messy summer travel season with flight delays and chaos.
An American man flew from Costa Rica to Miami to collect his luggage after his bags were mistracked.
Robert Gentel, a drone racing enthusiast living in Costa Rica, told Insider that the problems started on June 15. He would fly from his parents’ home in San Antonio, Texas, back to his home in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. to celebrate his birthday. He booked a first-class seat on American Airlines with a stopover in Miami.
He checked two bags before the flight. Gentel told Insider the bags contained thousands of dollars worth of drone gear, as he had participated in the 2022 MultiGP International Open drone race in Indiana from June 8 to June 12.
However, after he checked in his bags, his flight to Miami was canceled due to a maintenance issue, he said. The airline rebooked him on June 16 on United Airlines flights to Houston and then to Costa Rica.
“I came back to the airport the next day and checked at the US counter about my bags and was told everything was fine and the bags were already on their way,” he told Insider via Twitter.
But Gentel later found out they weren’t. He had put Apple AirTags in the checked bags and saw them on his way to Miami.
Gentel reached Costa Rica for his birthday on June 16, but spent the day texting American and United about his bags as he was flung from one department to another. Insider looked at some of the chats he had with the airlines.
One of Gentel’s two bags was sent to Costa Rica after a few days, but the other — based on AirTags location — was still stuck in Miami, he said.
“With each passing day, I became more and more concerned that the luggage would not reach me and would eventually be lost for good,” he told Insider.
Book a new flight
After days of no resolution, he decided to fly from Costa Rica to Miami on June 20 to pick up the bag himself.
When he arrived in Miami, he said he gave his luggage tag to the person at the storage room. “The guy looking for it in the storage room said it wasn’t on the rack it was supposed to be on, so I used the AirTag to find it on the rack next to it,” he added.
This time, he said, he unpacked all the stuff he “cared about” and carried it home on the plane.
Gentel said he booked most flights with credit card points. Insider verified its flight details for all three flights involved in the multi-day baggage test. He contacted Insider with his story after reading about a passenger in Ireland who: bought a plane ticket to go to Dublin Airport to look for his lost bag.
A summer of travel chaos
Gentel’s experience comes amid a messy summer travel season with flight delays, lost luggage and disruptions as demand has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The chaos started over Memorial Day weekend and is now especially pronounced in Europe. Airlines are facing a whole range issuesincluding staff shortages, absences due to the ongoing pandemic and bad weather.
While the process of getting his bag back was time-consuming and tedious – he says neither American nor United offered any compensation for the problems – Gentel said he was “extremely relieved” to get his equipment back. There would also be “a lot of inconvenience in replacing my main drone racing gear, such as my goggles and my controller,” Gentel added.
American Airlines did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“We are committed to delivering bags to customers’ final destinations on time, and if we miss the target, we work hard to connect customers to their bags as quickly as possible,” a United Airlines representative told Insider.
Gentel is already thinking about what to do next time with more stuff than he’s allowed to carry.
“I’ve recently been thinking about ticketing a friend on flights so I can carry extra carry-on luggage and check in expensive items,” he said.
Read the original article Business Insider