A 50th wedding anniversary trip without luggage thanks to Aer Lingus

When Joe Golding and his wife flew from Chicago to Ireland on Aer Lingus to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, the airline lost their luggage on the way. The couple spent three days traveling without their luggage before it was found and delivered to them. Golding subsequently filed a lost luggage claim, but three months later it still had not been processed. Can our advocates help him get reimbursed?

Question: My wife and I recently flew from Chicago to Dublin on Aer Lingus. When we landed in Dublin, nobody’s bags arrived…no clothes, no medicine, no contact lenses or toiletries. We traveled across Ireland for three days, checking into hotels, carrying a paper sack filled with necessary merchandise we purchased to maintain our personal hygiene.

Without medications, I had to check into Ireland’s medical system to get the necessary medicine.

We filed a claim on July 4 with Aer Lingus to pay for health necessities during the three days we had no luggage. It’s been almost three months and the airline still hasn’t acknowledged our loss or offered any apologies for ruining our 50th anniversary! I have provided all the receipts and sent several emails without even an update on my claim. We really need your help! — Joe Golding, Greenwood, Ind.

Answer: I’m sorry to hear you had a terrible experience during your anniversary vacation. Aer Lingus clearly could have done a better job with your luggage.

Before reaching out to our advocates, you had attempted to resolve the problem on your own using our Aer Lingus company contacts.

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Unfortunately, several months later you seemed to be no closer to a positive resolution. Frustrated with the lack of progress, you reached out to our advocacy team for help.

Our advocates reviewed your paper trail and noted that there were important pieces missing. You hadn’t included your claim number so it would have been impossible for the airline to respond properly to your inquiry.

Our advocate was able to obtain the necessary paperwork and baggage reference number that Aer Lingus needed to review your claim. With all your supporting documents in order, he then reached out to Aer Lingus on your behalf.

Shortly thereafter, the airline contacted you and apologized for the “delayed response.”

What caused this delay? It appears that you had mistakenly filed your claim with the Dublin headquarters. As a U.S. citizen, your claim needed to be processed through the North American branch of Aer Lingus.

“I am very sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment which resulted from your luggage not being available on arrival of your flight,” an Aer Lingus representative told you.

Aer Lingus sent you a check for $867 representing reimbursement for receipts you submitted for “interim necessities.” However, the airline noted that medical expenses are not covered unless you have travel insurance.

This case also serves as a cautionary tale for those who travel with medications. Losing medications can be a life-and-death issue. Never check your medications because as you have discovered, your luggage can be delayed or even lost.

You are pleased with this outcome and we’re delighted to have helped. Happy Anniversary!

Michael Hinkelman

Michael Hinkelman is an award-winning journalist with more than 35 years experience. He has worked for daily newspapers in Atlanta and Philadelphia, most recently as a small-business columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, before retiring in 2016. In 1993, Hinkelman won a prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for an investigation into the finances of the Atlanta Public Schools. In 2016, he was a lecturer in media relations at the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. Read more of Michael's stories here.

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