American tourist Donna O’Connor’s luggage, which contains her parents’ ashes, has been returned to her home in Chicago.
s O’Connor, 67, traveled to Ireland on June 30 to distribute some of her parents’ ashes at a family farm.
However, when she landed at Dublin Airport, her luggage, including the remains of her parents, Patricia and Robert Emmett O’Connor, were nowhere to be found.
She then spent seven days traveling back and forth from Dublin Airport in a frantic attempt to locate her bag.
Ms O’Connor said the woman, who is currently renting her home in Illinois, said her bag was delivered there today.
She must now wait for a family member to come to her home to confirm her parents’ ashes are safe and intact.
“I’m so frustrated with Air Canada because I want them here, that’s why I brought them,” she told Independent.ie.
“Having it back in Illinois doesn’t help me; it (baggage) was issued for the trip to Dublin. I don’t understand why it didn’t go to Dublin. And even if it hadn’t come with me, why wouldn’t you send it to Dublin?
“I think it’s there (Chicago) and I’ll be very, very grateful that my parents’ ashes are safe, but I still want them to be here with me.
“I have no idea where this bag has been for the last 12 days. I would have gone wherever it was if they’d only told me to.”
Lost baggage is the responsibility of the individual airlines, not the Dublin Airport operator, DAA.
DAA said passengers who cannot locate their bags should contact their airline or the airline’s groundhandling company directly, numbers for which are available on the DAA website.
Ms O’Connor said she received a voicemail from Air Canada yesterday saying they had found her bag and were returning it to Chicago. She tried to contact the airline but was unsuccessful.
She traveled to Ireland with her cat, which was considered hand luggage at the time. She therefore had to pack her parents’ ashes in her checked baggage.
She said: “I had a one-way call from them with no follow-up call or number to call to contact them.
“It’s still a huge disappointment to me that I don’t have her here with me and that I can’t do what I set out to do on this journey.
“Their job is to get people and their stuff to their destination, that’s what we paid for and that’s the expectation and that’s the core of their business and they only did half of it and caused a lot of problems with it.”
Ms O’Connor intends to remain in Ireland but said the ordeal was “financially overwhelming” as she was forced to buy new clothes and essentials.
“The good outcome that could have come from that would have been Air Canada calling and saying, ‘We’ve got your bag, where are you? We’ll get it for you,” she said.
“The last place I would have expected is they send it back to where it started.
“I intend to stay for a while; it’s not what i wanted. I just feel emotionally drained and the thought of going back into the chaos of travel now and complicating it with a pet just doesn’t get me.
“Now I’m as far from my parents’ ashes as I’ve ever been. They’ve always been in my bedroom, that’s just crazy.”
An Air Canada spokesman told the Irish Independent on Saturday: “We deal directly with our customers but we can advise you that this customer’s delayed baggage is on its way.
“The vast majority of customers arrive at their destination with their luggage.
“However, lately there have been more cases of delayed bags and these and other challenges for the industry are a phenomenon to be seen around the world as the post-Covid air transport system reawakens.
“One reason is that more people are traveling and have more luggage. Second, the operating environment around the world has changed from before the pandemic, particularly the well-documented issues such as security and customs lines, aircraft being held at gates that cannot be unloaded at airports, and restrictions on the number of air traffic control flights.
“All of this can disrupt airport operations, especially baggage handling and baggage connections.”
Independent.ie has reached out to Air Canada for further comment.
https://www.independent.ie/news/emotionally-spent-tourist-who-came-to-ireland-to-spread-parents-ashes-discovers-her-lost-bag-containing-their-remains-is-in-chicago-41834497.html ‘Emotionally exhausted’: Tourist who came to Ireland to distribute her parents’ ashes discovers her lost bag containing her remains is in Chicago