A DC woman’s lost luggage experience with an airline company during the holidays has gone viral online. Badly wanting to have it back, she embarked on a quest to retrieve her missing bag. Fortunately, she placed an AirTag inside, and what the device revealed to her was definitely strange.
On Thursday December 28, Valerie Szybala arrived in Washington, DC after transferring flights in Chicago, Illinois via United Airlines. After landing, the United app notified that her bag had been delayed, and it would arrive in DC the following day. She was given the option to have her belongings delivered to her home.
She thought it was a good offer and accepted saying, “I said OK, and that was a big mistake. The third-party company that they contracted with took my bag on quite a ride and I could tell because of the AirTag I had.”
Szybala’s story instantly became viral when she tweeted on Sunday January 1 that United Airlines definitely lost her luggage, but even if she told the airline’s customer support that her bag was missing, she was told to “calm down” and that her bag was safe at their delivery services distribution center.
But she was having none of it, because according to her AirTag that she fortunately put inside her missing suitcase, it took a weird joyride, where it was spotted at a residential apartment complex, at various shopping places, and even at a McDonald’s.
“I’d just like everyone to know that @united has lost track of my bag and is lying about it,” she initially said on her viral Twitter thread, which at the time of writing had 185k likes and 22.8 million views.
She was able to retrieve her suitcase on her fourth trip to a NE Washington D.C. apartment complex on Rhode Island Avenue, where the AirTag had detected the bag repeatedly. The apartment is miles away from her house.
Szybala’s bag was actually in the possession of a courier near the apartment complex, who told her that the suitcase had been mistakenly dispatched twice to wrong addresses.
Of course Szybala felt happy to have her suitcase back, but she still wants an explanation from United Airlines.
She said outside the apartment building, “I’m really upset at United, I still want answers as to why my bag has been in someone’s car in this building for three days and has taken trips out to go shopping several times. I don’t think they’ve told me the truth about what happened.”
“The worst part is being gaslit — being told your bag is on its way when it’s not.”
Meanwhile, United Airlines released a statement, saying they are investigating the matter, calling it a “service failure”, We’ve been in touch with this customer to discuss this situation and confirm she has received her luggage. The service our baggage delivery vendor provided does not meet our standards and we are investigating what happened to lead to this service failure.”
To travelers, Szybala advises they use tracking devices like an AirTag as well as documenting their baggage with photos, “That was my big mistake. I should have said I’m coming to the airport to pick it up. Don’t let them give it to a third party.”