This man is trolling the airline to retrieve his luggage

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This man is trolling the airline to retrieve his luggage

(CNN) — We’ve all felt that anxiety when you’re at baggage claim, waiting for your bag to arrive, and everyone seems to get theirs first. Normally, you are predicting something that is not going to happen: your suitcase leaves just when you think it is lost forever. But the worst fears of some unlucky ones come true, and sometimes that means losing precious items of great sentimental value.

Elliot Sharod was one of the unlucky ones on April 17. He and his new wife, Helen, were flying back from their wedding in South Africa, where Sharod used to live, to his home in the UK.

It had been the trip of a lifetime: she had first booked her wedding for 2020, but it was rescheduled for 2021, just before the omicron variant of the coronavirus hit.

Finally, they made it. “It was everything for us: we came from a total emotion that it was finally happening, that we were finally getting married in a place that was special to us.”

They packed three bags for their complex journey home: from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi; from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt; and from Frankfurt to Dublin. The booking was made with Etihad, which had a direct route from Abu Dhabi to Dublin at the time of booking, but was canceled during the pandemic and changed them to an Etihad route to Germany, and then to a shared leg with Aer Lingus. to Dublin.

From Dublin, the starting point of their journey, as the flights were much cheaper, they had to fly again with Aer Lingus to London Heathrow airport.

But when they arrived in Dublin, their bags did not appear.

Luckily, Sharod had a secret weapon: Airtags.

I had bought three of these Apple products, which emit Bluetooth tracking alerts, and had hidden one in each suitcase.

“I did it because our itinerary was quite complex: we were traveling through multiple airports,” he says. “It was more for security when going down: the wedding dress and the suit were not in our bags, but it was to be calm.”

So he and Helen watched in real time, relieved, as their bags arrived on the plane in Frankfurt. There was only one problem: when they checked again, the bags had been moved to a gate area in Frankfurt. They were never loaded onto the plane.

“We were upset, frustrated and tired, but we were still optimistic: we thought they would put them on a flight,” he says. “We didn’t think about it anymore.”

Aer Lingus staff said they would send the bags from Frankfurt to London, to be delivered to the Sharods’ home in Surrey, just outside the capital.

And sure enough, the next night, at 10 p.m., a messenger arrived. The only problem: there were only two suitcases.

The third, Helen’s suitcase, which contained wedding cards, handwritten notes from where they had stayed, the service order and itineraries they had made for the guests was, according to her Airtag, at a random Pimlico address. , in the center of London.

Repeated calls, emails and texts to Aer Lingus and their designated courier, Eagle Aviation, have been to no avail. Sharod says that Aer Lingus has told him at different times that the bag was identified in its new location, taken to the Sharods’ house, but that they were not at the address, so it is now lost in the system. Meanwhile, Eagle Aviation has not responded to messages via its contact form, nor has it answered the phone.

So, following a response from Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton’s office, which told her her team was investigating, she decided to take a new approach: record videos addressing the airline and post them on social media.

Sharod even put together a PowerPoint presentation explaining the saga to the airline and sharing the often contradictory messages they send him.

Sharod told CNN that it’s “the only way to get their attention, by naming them and shaming them.”

But his saga, which comes at a time of baggage chaos at UK airports, which airlines blame on understaffing, shows that customers’ tracking of their own luggage can be a sign of what’s to come. come.

Apple’s Airtags, released in April 2021, are $29, and a pack of four is $99. They’re small enough to stash in a suitcase, the Sharod’s are in a sock, but once linked to an Apple device, they can be traced back to your location, within a few meters of error.

In “lost” mode, they emit signals that are picked up by any nearby Apple products and returned to their owner, meaning an iPhone user walking past Sharod’s suitcase will inadvertently help alert him to your location.

That’s how you know that on April 21, four days after the luggage went missing, it made two trips, both within a couple of blocks of your Pimlico location. Since then, he has not moved.

“Helen is devastated,” he said. “It’s her bag, her clothes, and she has this uneasy feeling about where her belongings are.” The couple now believes that it was stolen so they filed a complaint.

Aer Lingus lost all three of the Sharods’ suitcases, and now one with precious wedding favors is still missing.
Credit: Elliot Sharod

Sharod, an “avgeek” or aficionado of aviation culture, is not the first frequent flyer to use Airtags to try to reconnect with his bags. Paul Lucasโ€œavgeekโ€ influencer, tweeted the saga of her lost suitcase on a TAP flight from Lisbon to Madrid.

He was able to continue his journey through Lisbon airport before meeting her again in Spain.

CNN’s sister website Underscored described the Airtags last month as the “ultimate travel companions.”
They have also recommended the Chipolo and Tile trackers.

Neither Aer Lingus nor Eagle Aviation responded to a request for comment.

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