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Woman reveals lost suitcase travelled to different country before it was returned to her four years later

‘I started and graduated from college in that time,’ one viewer writes

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 12 January 2023 16:51 GMT
Related: Passenger creates presentation demonstrating where lost luggage is

A woman has documented what she found in her suitcase after it was returned to her four years after it was lost by United Airlines.

April Gavin, who goes by the username @aprildgavin on TikTok, recounted the story of her lost luggage in a video uploaded to the app this week. In the clip, she began by recalling how, four years ago, in 2018, she’d flown to Chicago, Illinois, for a business trip.

“Okay, so, four years ago, August 4 of 2018, I went on a business trip,” she began the six-minute video. “And while I was on that business trip, I went to Chicago, I live in Oregon, on the way home, United Airlines lost my luggage.”

According to Gavin, she tried for “months and months” to get her suitcase back, but was ultimately informed by the airline that they couldn’t find the luggage and that they had “no idea” what happened to it.

That changed this month, when Gavin revealed that she received a phone call informing her that her luggage was in Houston, Texas, but that it had made its way to Honduras in the time since she’d last seen it.

“All of a sudden, I get a phone call from Houston, Texas, saying that they found my luggage, and I was confused,” she continued, adding that the airline “thought it was a typo that it had been missing for four years.”

“It was in Honduras. And who knows where else it went,” Gavin said. “But it came from Honduras. Went to Houston, Texas. They called me.”

In the video, Gavin then revealed that she planned to document herself opening the suitcase, before admitting that she was afraid of what she was going to find, as she has a “huge phobia of bugs”.

After showing viewers the original luggage tag, which was still attached to the suitcase, Gavin unzipped the bag to find her belongings seemingly exactly as she’d packed them four years earlier.

Before opening the bag, Gavin acknowledged that it had become slightly damaged and worn, despite the suitcase being new when she’d travelled with it.

The video then sees Gavin discovering all of her lost belongings, including clothes, jewellery, her prescription glasses, a laptop charger, a blowdryer, and clothes that she’d purchased for her daughters while she was on her business trip, which still had tags on them.

“It’s like Christmas opening up all my stuff,” Gavin joked as she unzipped a toiletries bag.

Once she’d combed through all of her belongings, Gavin concluded that her suitcase had just “literally travelled around the world and nobody took anything out of it, that I can tell”.

“I cannot believe that this suitcase has been travelling around for four years, went to Honduras, finally made it back to me, and it looks like almost everything is still in it,” she told viewers. “So, thanks United.”

As of 12 January, the video has been viewed more than 213,000 times, with many viewers intrigued by the return of the “time-capsule” luggage.

“It’s a pre-Covid time capsule,” one person joked, while another said: “This is literally so cool.”

“I started and graduated from college in that time! Wild,” someone else said.

Others found the recovery of the suitcase amusing. “This is about how long it takes me to unpack my suitcase after a trip,” one user wrote, while someone else said: “That suitcase has travelled more in those four years than I have in my life.”

In a follow-up video, Gavin addressed some of the most common questions she received after her viral TikTok, including whether she received compensation for her missing luggage.

“The short answer is yes,” Gavin confirmed, before explaining that she received compensation from United Airlines for the “majority” of her lost items, but that there were some belongings that the airline said it was not able to reimburse her for. Overall, Gavin said that what she received was “nowhere near the value of [her] bag,” but that she thinks it was between $1,250 to $1,700.

Gavin also shared details she’d learned during her quest for her luggage, including that the airline had informed her her bag had never been scanned when she’d dropped it off at the Chicago bag check.

“So that’s why they were having so much trouble finding it,” she explained.

Gavin’s video comes amid a rise in lost or misplaced luggage reports, with a US Department of Transportation report finding that nearly 1.5 million bags were either lost, late, or damaged by major airlines in the first half of 2022.

The Independent has contacted United Airlines and Gavin for comment.

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