Sarah Waite, 25, travelled from Los Angeles to Athens with a layover in Paris
A fuming traveller claims £1,000 ($1,200) worth of items went missing after an airline ‘lost’ her luggage for two months – despite her AirTag tracker revealing that it was at the airport.
Sarah Waite, 25, travelled from Los Angeles to Athens, with a layover in Paris.
But when she landed in the Greek capital, she discovered her suitcase had not made it onto the plane and would arrive later.
A week later, Sarah, who is originally from Los Angeles, received a notification from her AirTag, a tracking device by Apple, saying her bag had left Paris and was finally in Athens.
When she went to pick it up, she claims Air France staff told her they didn’t have it despite the AirTag showing its location at the airport.
When Sarah landed in Athens she discovered her suitcase had not made it onto the Air France plane and would arrive later. In the end she waited two months to be reunited with it
The registered nurse spent two months without her luggage after the flight on May 14.
And when she was finally able to retrieve it, Sarah claims her suitcase had been damaged and £1,000 ($1,200) worth of items were missing, including shoes and makeup.
Sarah described the whole experience as ‘horrible and traumatising.’
It was the trip of a lifetime for Sarah, who travelled to Athens to pursue her dream of learning modern and ancient Greek literature.
So her dream trip wasn’t off to a good start when she landed in Athens with no luggage.
She said: ‘I went to claim my luggage and almost all of the passengers were informed that it was arriving later.
‘We all had to make a claim at the Air France desk at 2am local time.
‘There were probably about 60 people that stayed to file the claim, me being one of them.’
Sarah claims her suitcase had been damaged and £1,000 ($1,200) worth of items were missing, including shoes and makeup
In the hope of speeding things up, Sarah filed a claim online while waiting in the physical queue.
At 5am in the morning, three hours after landing, she finally left Athens International Airport – without her luggage.
Sarah had an AirTag inside her suitcase so she could see that the item was in Paris, where she’d had her layover.
She said: ‘Luckily I had an AirTag inside my luggage so I could see that Air France was not lying and it really was still in the Paris airport.’
Sarah kept in touch with airline staff over the next few days but found the communication difficult.
She said ‘I kept in contact with Air France about my claim and they were not communicative at all, leaving me on hold for long periods, not connecting me with someone who spoke English.’
A week later, on May 20, Sarah’s AirTag sent her a notification revealing that her luggage had left Paris Charles de Gaulle and was finally in Athens.
She decided to make her way to the airport but when she arrived, she was unable to reclaim her belongings.
Sarah documented her lost-luggage frustrations on TikTok, revealing on one clip that she received $600 (£485) in compensation from Air France
Sarah said: ‘I went to the help desk and then finally to the lost and found with lots of effort and back-and-forth argumentation about my claim number.
‘It was not there and there was nothing I could do, even though my AirTag said it was there.’
As she found herself without her suitcase, Sarah, who suffers from Graves’ disease, had to buy a number of items including her thyroid medications.
The condition is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid.
She said: ‘I lost hope but I continued my communication with the airline every day, sending them receipts of the items I had to purchase.’
Two months later, on July 20, Sarah was still able to track her AirTag, so she made a final attempt and travelled to the airport again.
When she arrived, Sarah went to the airline desk and confronted the staff.
She said ‘The people helping me were very rude, yelling at me when I expressed frustration, telling me there is nothing they can do even though they work at the airport and can take me to the AirTag location.
‘They even threatened to call the police on me because I started video recording the situation.’
A video shows the interaction between herself and the staff, where an argument breaks out.
According to Sarah, the staff eventually agreed to take her to the lost and found where she was finally able to retrieve her luggage.
When she was reunited with her suitcase, Sarah claimed that it was clear it had been damaged and items lost.
She explained: ‘I got my bag, but again with extreme frustration.
‘I went to the help desk and got permission to access the lost and found.
‘I went to the lost and found and then the other lost and found but my bag was not there.
‘I finally broke down and cried in front of the entire staff and that is when someone said, “Oh we called you, okay stay here.”‘
She added: ‘It took extreme emotional expression to get the people to understand who I was and that I was contacted, even though I was telling everyone who helped me out that my name is Sarah Waite and I was called because my bags were found.
‘A young man took me to the customs area where my AirTag was tagged and I got my bag.
‘My luggage was completely ripped open, shoes were gone, makeup gone, bags were missing and the original lock on the zippers is not on it.
‘I am devastated still, but at least my medication, which is in a liquid form, if you have Graves’ disease then you know, is viable.’
Sarah documented her lost-luggage frustrations on TikTok, revealing on one clip that she received $600 (£485) in compensation.
Air France has yet to respond to requests for comment.