After Southwest “Flightmare,” many passengers are still waiting on lost bags

If you’re searching for a lost or delayed bag, there are ways you can remedy the situation.
Despite a return to normal operations, many Southwest Airlines passengers are still searching for their bags.
Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 3:50 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Many people are still waiting to retrieve their luggage Friday after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights in the last week and a half.

The airline said operations should return to normal on Friday.

However, several travelers at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport said they are still dealing with the impact.

“[I] woke up Tuesday morning to a voicemail that said ‘your flight was cancelled,’” Kelvin Walker said.

Walker said his family had to decide between paying over $2,000 for a new flight or driving back to Charlotte from Chicago.

“We didn’t have a choice,” he said. “We drove down to Charlotte which was an 11-hour drive.”

In the meantime, others have been waiting hours or days for their bags.

“Who knows where it’s at now,” one traveler said.

If you lost your bag, there are some things you should know.

First, airlines like American and Southwest say if your bag is lost, damaged, or delayed, you need to file a report at the Baggage Service Office. You have to do this within 24 hours for most airlines and within four hours for Southwest.

Next, both American and Southwest say they will reimburse you for items you need while you don’t have your bag.

Once you buy those items, like clothes, toothbrush and other essentials, save your receipts to submit for reimbursement. Both airlines say they’ll pay up to $3,800.

If you still don’t get your bag within a couple of hours, make sure the airline has your right contact information and address, either in-person or online.

For those who lost their bags between Dec. 20-27, Southwest says to go here to fill out your baggage information and get it returned as quick as possible.

And if you want to avoid the headache altogether, airline experts say think ahead of time.

Put your contact information and something identifiable on your bag so it’s easier to find. Even better, take a picture of your bag before the flight so you can show your airline what your bag looks like if you lose it.

You can also consider putting an Apple AirTag in your bag. It’s a tracking device that allows you to see where your bag is at that moment in time.

You can find specific suggestions by going here and scrolling down to find your airline’s specific policies.

You can find more information on how to pursue refunds and make next steps after a cancelled flight here.

Related: At Southwest Airlines, a day of recovery after week of chaos