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Apple AirTag Helps American Airlines Passenger Track Down Her Luggage That Airline Lost to a Burbank Homeless Encampment

Apple AirTag Helps American Airlines Passenger Track Down Her Luggage That Airline Lost to a Burbank Homeless Encampment

a plane on the road

An American Airlines passenger claims she tracked down the luggage that the airline lost on a flight between Dallas Fort Worth and Hollywood Burbank Airport to a homeless encampment in the Burbank area using an Apple AirTag that she had hidden inside the bag.

Aunny Grace was due to fly from DFW to Burbank on May 29, but when her original flight got canceled she ended up getting rebooked on a different flight than her checked luggage.

It took five days for American Airlines to track down her missing bag and get it to Burbank Airport, and a day later, she received a call from the courier company that is meant to repatriate missing bags with their owners.

The courier confirmed that they would deliver the bag to Aunny’s house, but when it failed to show up, she used the Find My app on her mobile phone to track where the Apple AirTag was located.

Aunny says the AirTag was showing as being located in the area of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue so he headed to that location to see if she could reclaim her luggage herself.

“When I arrived, my bag had slowly made its way down to Santa Monica and Western, and that is when I found my stuff, not my suitcase, but particles of my stuff in a homeless man’s shopping cart,” Aunny told WIVB4.

You kind of get to a point where you’re looking around the encampment and think, ‘I don’t even want my stuff back.’ I had toiletry bags that were dumped upside down. I had makeup bags. All the makeup was gone,” Aunny continued.

And it appears this wasn’t an isolated incident. Aunny says she spotted ‘dozens’ of brand new suitcases strewn around the area. There were also baby strollers and bicycles, all with airline luggage tags still attached to them.

Aunny says that American Airlines stores delayed luggage on the curb outside the terminal building, meaning that its easy pickings for thieves to help themselves to lost luggage.

Although she managed to retrieve some personal effects, she also lost some expensive medical kit and believes the value of anything she lost was in the region of $6,000.

American Airlines, however, has only offered her $1,700 in compensation for the lost luggage.

According to airline technology company SITA, the number of bags mishandled by airlines globally has fallen from 7.6 in 2022 to 6.9 per 1,000 passengers in 2023 despite a massive jump in passenger numbers.

In fact, the mishandling rate from 2007 to 2023 plummeted by as much as 63%, and the U.S. generally performs better than other regions with a mishandling rate of just 5.8 per 1,000 passengers in 2023.

Europe fared a lot worse with a mishandling rate of 10.6 per 1,000 passengers in 2023 – although that’s an improvement on the 2007 rate of 16.6 per 1,000 passengers.

Passengers have a better chance of being reunited with the luggage at the baggage carousel in Asia Pacific, where the mishandling rate is just 3.0 per 1,000 passengers.

Addressing Aunny’s complaint, American Airlines said in a statement: “We strive to ensure that our customers’ checked luggage and other items arrive at their destinations on schedule and in their original condition.”

“We are investigating what occurred here and, in the meantime, a member of our team is in contact with the customer to apologize and resolve the issue.”

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