American tourist Donna O’Connor traveled to Ireland to scatter her parents’ ashes on a family farm.
But now she has described the messy experience trying to find her lost luggage at Dublin Airport, luggage containing the remains of her parents Patricia and Robert Emmett O’Connor.
Ms O’Connor, 67, who is from Chicago, arrived in Dublin on June 30 on an Air Canada flight and has spent the last seven days traveling back and forth to Dublin Airport in a desperate attempt to find her locate belongings.
Ms O’Connor said she is now “heartbroken” because she has traveled with many items of sentimental value, including her parents’ ashes, which she plans to spread in Ballina, Co. Mayo.
She now feels “trapped” in the capital and cannot travel west until she is reunited with her luggage.
In recent weeks, the problem of unclaimed baggage has affected many airports worldwide, with thousands of lost items piling up.
Airlines have also been forced to cancel flights due to staff shortages due to Covid-19.
“I waited three hours with a lot of other people for the luggage to come out and finally after three hours we agreed that we just saw the same luggage rotating through the carousel,” Ms O’Connor said Irish Independent.
“Most of the information I have received comes from passengers who have had this experience. I submitted a claim form to (baggage handling company) Sky Handlers who was bullied and they said ‘we’ll queue it up and call you’ and that was it.
“Air Canada had already rescheduled our flight, I was coming in from Chicago via Toronto and we were almost nine hours late. We were held up at the gate in Toronto for temporary luggage loading and now I don’t know if mine is in Dublin or Toronto.
“If you go to the arrivals hall where the baggage carousels are, the baggage is so messed up the day I was there, I don’t know if it comes out so late that people eventually give up, but then the baggage handlers catch just start stacking it.
“So I went through all of them to see if my bag had been put on a different carousel number. I’ve literally seen over a thousand cases just standing in the middle.
“No one leaves because they are afraid to leave, they want their luggage so badly they don’t go out to eat or drink because you don’t want to miss your chance.
“I contacted Air
Canada several times, has been put on hold and no one is coming back.”
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 ground-handling company directly, numbers for which are available on the DAA website.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair operate their own baggage handling, while other airlines use handling companies such as Sky Handling.
Ms O’Connor has traveled to Ireland many times over the years and said nothing like this had ever happened before.
She said the ordeal was also “financially overwhelming” because she had to make multiple international calls, which caused her phone bill “to skyrocket,” and she also had to buy new clothes and essentials.
“My plan was to stay here for a year, my grandparents are Irish so I applied for Irish passport to stay – and instead I feel like I moved here with the clothes on my back,” she said .
“My plan was to stay in Dublin for a bit and then head west, but now I feel trapped in Dublin because I’m afraid I’ll never see my luggage again.
“The reason I brought my parents’ ashes is because I’m Irish and my cousin has a farm in Mayo and I wanted to put some ashes there for her.
“I’m 67, have traveled a lot and have never experienced anything like this.”
This was announced by a spokesman for Air Canada Irish Independent: “We deal directly with our customers, but we can inform you that this customer’s delayed luggage 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.”
A Sky Handling spokesman said they are aware and aware of the impact the current travel disruptions are having on passengers.
The current baggage delays were “mainly caused by resource and infrastructure problems at overseas hub airports”.
“Sky Handling Partners has more than doubled our staff at Dublin Airport in recent months to continue to assist arriving passengers with their baggage retrieval,” the spokesman said.
“This has resulted in a significant increase in passengers and their bags being separated on the original Dublin flights, with bags arriving on later flights over the course of several days.
“We have invested in technological improvements to speed up the process of notifying passengers when delayed bags arrive and delivering the bags to them.
“We cannot comment on an individual passenger, but we are making every effort to reunite passengers with items that have arrived on later flights as quickly as possible.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/i-am-heartbroken-tourist-spends-week-at-dublin-airport-trying-to-find-lost-luggage-containing-parents-ashes-41826520.html ‘I’m heartbroken’ – Tourist spends a week at Dublin airport finding lost luggage with his parents’ ashes