An American Airlines passenger said a stranger discovered her lost luggage in Hamburg even though the airline doesn’t fly there and she hadn’t visited Germany.
Michelle and Christopher May were scheduled to fly from Edinburgh, Scotland, to London, England, on July 2, with connecting flights to New York and then Charlotte, North Carolina. The first two flights were operated by British Airways and the third, by American.
The couple’s travel agent emailed them the day before departure saying British Airways had canceled their flight from London to New York. So they switched to an American flight direct to Charlotte from London the next day. They stayed overnight in an airport hotel before checking in their four bags at the American priority desk for their business-class flight to Charlotte.
When they went to collect their luggage in Charlotte, one of Michelle’s bags was missing.
Insider has verified the couple’s travel details.
After filing a missing bag claim and contacting American multiple times, the couple were repeatedly referred back to the airlines’ bag tracker website, which showed no updates on the location of Michelle’s luggage, she told Insider.
In their missing bag claim, seen by Insider, the Mays say the luggage was worth around $ 1,800, including an $ 84 bottle of whiskey they’d bought in Scotland, around $ 170 of makeup, and hair straighteners that had cost $ 200. The suitcase itself cost $ 659, they say.
Michelle said she called and emailed American several times before finally hearing back from the airline on July 26, when an employee apologized for how long it had taken to respond.
On August 19, more than six weeks after the Mays’ flight, the same American employee emailed Christopher, saying the airline was searching for the bag but had “not been successful at locating it at this time.”
Three days later, Christopher said he received a call from a stranger saying they’d found Michelle’s suitcase while searching for their own lost bag at Hamburg Airport. The stranger emailed Christopher a picture of the bag’s luggage tag, which had a handwritten sticker saying “BA.”
“Somehow a piece of luggage that did not belong to British Airways is now in the possession of British Airways,” Michelle told Insider.
Copies of the Mays’ boarding passes, seen by Insider, confirm their flight was an American Airlines flight but appears to have been booked as a codeshare with British Airways.
American offers codeshare flights to Hamburg with British Airways but doesn’t operate the route itself.
Michelle said she called American again but was told the airline couldn’t do anything to help, that the airline doesn’t have agents in Hamburg because it doesn’t have direct flights there, and that she needed to speak to the same employee she ‘d spoken with previously.
Michelle said she called and emailed that employee but other than an email Tuesday saying he’d look into it, she hadn’t received a response as of Wednesday afternoon.
Michelle said Hamburg Airport blamed American for losing the bag.
She told Insider the couple hoped friends in Germany, who live three hours from Hamburg, would collect the luggage. Failing that, they’d pay a company to ship the bag Charlotte, she said.
Neither American Airlines nor British Airways responded to Insider’s requests for comment.