Updated: January 23, 2012 2:36AM
Dear Fixer: On Feb. 25, my husband and I took a flight from O’Hare International Airport to Miami. We were scheduled to take a cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines the next day.
When we arrived in Miami around 11 p.m., all our luggage was there except for my main piece of luggage with all my essentials in it. The person at the United Airlines lost baggage office said not to worry because there was another flight coming the next day at 12:45 p.m. and my bag would be there in plenty of time for us to make our cruise.
We went to our hotel and returned the next afternoon at 12:45 p.m. and, once again, the luggage did not make the flight.
They told me they would send my luggage to the first port of call in Cozumel, Mexico. We were due in Cozumel on Feb. 28.
Of course, I was very disappointed because I had no underwear, shampoo, shorts, bathing suit, pajamas, T-shirts, comb, soap, flat irons — nothing that I needed for my vacation!
Between the Carnival Cruise Lines staff and my husband, many calls were made to United to ensure that the bag would definitely be sent to Mexico. They even called my husband’s cell phone to tell him the flight number. Carnival said their representative would pick up the bag and deliver it to our room.
But on that Monday, Carnival’s rep could not find the bag at the airport in Cozumel. United swore the bag was checked in.
Then, on Thursday, March 3, while we were at our last port of call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, my sister called my husband to ask if we were OK because she was getting multiple calls from Royal Caribbean. She didn’t know which cruise line we were on but wanted to make sure we weren’t in any danger. We told her we were fine and that we were on Carnival, not Royal Caribbean.
We didn’t think much of it until we got home. Someone from Royal Caribbean had finally left a message for my sister telling her that they had her bag and that she should contact Royal Caribbean’s corporate office. I had borrowed my sister’s bag for my cruise, and they must have been using the information on her permanent luggage tag.
Once I figured this out, I called United to give them this information. I also called Royal Caribbean. They seemed like they really didn’t want to deal with it.
So the bag has disappeared into thin air.
I had to buy some things to survive a seven-day cruise without my luggage. I was told that all I had to do was turn in receipts for the items and United would reimburse me. I had to also fill out a form listing all the items in the lost bag and the cost.
I don’t feel like United followed up properly with Royal Caribbean on the information I gave them about the calls to my sister. I feel like I should have received reimbursement for my immediate expenses by now and there should be conversations about reimbursement for the bag and items that I lost. I also feel like there should be some compensation for a ruined vacation that I saved to pay for and looked forward to for almost a year.
JoAngela Cooper-Scott, Oswego
Dear JoAngela: You wrote us about this sad saga on April 13, and by the time we interviewed you a few days later, you said that United had already come through with a $1,787.10 reimbursement for the missing luggage and other items and two $300 vouchers for future travel. But you still wondered whether your wayward bag was sitting in a lonely pile of lost luggage 1,500 miles away — and The Fixer loves a challenge.
So we got in touch with Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean International, and provided a description of the bag and its last known whereabouts. At first, it looked doubtful, considering the close to 3 million tourists who visit Cozumel each year. But then Sierra-Caro got back with some amazing news: Royal Caribbean’s local agent had found your bag sitting in a warehouse!
Evidently, it had been mislabeled as being for a Royal Caribbean, not Carnival, passenger, and then everyone got confused when they didn’t see your (or your sister’s) name on a Royal Caribbean passenger list.
It took a bit of prodding with United, but they finally got the bag flown back to Chicago and delivered it to your home last week. You told The Fixer that some items were missing — everything that was new and had a price tag on it and oddly, a bar of soap — and someone had stolen some bras, earrings, and makeup and used your sunscreen. But your favorite T-shirts and your expensive flat irons still were there.
Interestingly, there was no identification tag on the bag when it was returned, which makes us wonder if whoever called your sister had lost the tag and then decided to just stow the bag in the warehouse — where it sat until The Fixer found it.