CINCINNATI — When you are flying, few things are worse than a delayed or canceled flight, something thousands of travelers are dealing with this week on Southwest Airlines.
But one thing even more aggravating, and in this case heartbreaking, is lost luggage that doesn't show up in a few days, or even a few weeks.
Heather Poast of Cincinnati's Hyde Park neighborhood checked a very distinctive North Face bag on a Frontier flight out of Las Vegas.
"I'm waiting a few days, and a few days, and nothing," the frustrated mom said. "The last time this happened to me, I think I got my bag the next day."
Now, almost 4 weeks later, still no luggage, and no response to her two lost-luggage claims on Frontier's website.
But it's not the bag and weekend clothes that worries her most.
It's a set of sentimental gemstone earrings she bought on her honeymoon overseas, as well as an irreplaceable sentimental necklace, a gift from her late father.
"It was a necklace my dad had given me in eighth grade," Poast said. "So that necklace, a pearl heart necklace, was super important to me, and you can't replace that."
How jewelry often ends up in checked luggage
If you are wondering why she checked a bag with jewelry inside, there are two reasons, and it's the type of thing that could happen to anyone.
First, it wasn't expensive jewelry, such as a diamond bracelet that would require extra insurance.
More importantly, the decision to check it was made at the last minute, right at the check-in counter.
"I thought, 'Maybe I'll carry it on,' then decided, 'No, I guess I will check my bag,'" she said.
Poast didn't realize in her haste to get through check-in that she had inadvertently checked the bag containing her jewelry, rather than her clothing bag.
What you should never check on an airline
Airfare Watchdog.com says never place in a checked bag:
- Important medication that you will need when you arrive.
- Laptops or cameras (especially since laptops are required to be carried on, due the risk of battery fires).
- Cash or jewelry, with the exception of cheap costume jewelry.
- Anything sentimental that cannot be replaced.
Domestic airlines will cover up to $3,800 in lost items if your checked luggage cannot be found, but that does little to replace her deceased father's necklace.
We contacted Frontier's media department, which is now looking into her complaint.
Poast says she spent weeks unable to reach a live person.
"Nobody's contacted me to apologize. And I can't reach a human," she said.
Bottom line: Keep the valuables out of checked luggage, and be sure to put your name and phone number in at least two places inside and outside the bag, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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