Holidaymaker wears ‘stinky’ tracksuit for 10 days after BA ‘loses’ luggage

A mum has told of her 10-day ordeal as she was forced to wear a “stinky” tracksuit for her entire holiday after her luggage was “lost”.

Melanie Marvell travelled from the UK to the United States for Thanksgiving with friends she met when she worked over the pond.

She left home from Tyne and Wear on November 21 and has a series of three connecting flights to Rhode Island.

Melanie had snapped up the route for a steal at £550, but would soon be unhappy with her decision.

The sales assistant was to fly from Newcastle International Airport to Heathrow Airport with British Airways, then to Shannon Airport, Ireland, with Aer Lingus and finally to Boston Logan International Airport with British Airways again.

She claims to have checked her suitcase in with BA at the start of her journey and flew to London.

However, when she went to check in for her next flight to Ireland with Aer Lingus she was told she had been “offloaded” by BA.

Melanie had a stressful experience at the airport during which the Are Lingus flight took off without her.

She explained: "I used to work in America and I made friends. I haven't been for eight years and I was going to celebrate Thanksgiving with them – I've been planning the trip since January.

"When I got to London Heathrow I went to check in with Aer Lingus, who I was flying with, and they said 'you've been offloaded' I didn't know what that meant.

"They said 'go over to Terminal 5 because you've been booked to go direct from London straight to Boston with British Airways'.

"So I got to Terminal 5 and went through security and they said 'you're not on this flight'.

"Bearing in mind Heathrow Airport is not little and you've got to get a bus to and from [terminals]. I ran from Terminal 5 to Terminal 2 four times to try and get on a flight.

"There was no one there to help me. Running round an airport – someone that's had a heart attack – I finally said 'I've had enough'. At this point I was in tears.

"Then this man from British Airways said 'we'll sort something out'. He got in touch with his manager and they put me on a flight with JetBlue to Boston – they weren't going to allow me on it at first.

"I've never seen my suitcase at this point, I don't even know it's missing.

"I handed it over at Newcastle to British Airways and then whether they've put it onto the Aer Lingus flight or kept it at Heathrow I don't know.”

She was eventually put on a flight with JetBlue to go straight to Boston.

However, her suitcase was never put on the plane in the chaos and so Melanie was left without all of her clothing, personal effects and gifts when she arrived in the US.

She waited four hours for her suitcase at the airport before giving up and getting a bus to Rhode Island having missed her chance at a lift with a friend.

"When I got to Boston and was trying to get my suitcase they didn't know where it was.

"After about four hours of searching I missed my lift from Boston to Rhode Island and they were still looking for it.

"I've got all new clothes and presents in the suitcase including a glass angel that I needed because we all went to the cemetery with gifts for a girl that died to put on her grave.

"I'm not a tourist in Rhode Island, I've been there and done it.

“I didn't have enough spending money to go out and buy new clothes so I had to stay in the same clothes for ten days.”

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She added: “You stink. You can have a shower but you're putting on the same clothes you had on yesterday.

"You can't keep asking if you can wash one outfit because it's too expensive the same as here, so I didn't get it washed every day.

“I got it washed every two days.

"It should've been an exciting time because I hadn't seen people in eight years but it wasn't.

“I was anxious thinking 'is my suitcase going to come tomorrow?' I got myself on such a downer.”

British Airways eventually located the missing suitcase at Heathrow Airport and sent it to DHL to return to Melanie.

However, a month after returning to the UK she still had not been given her case back.

British Airways explained that they “proactively booked” Melanie on the next available flight after her inbound flight from Newcastle was delayed due to “adverse weather conditions” and apologised for the 'delay' to her journey.

Melanie was upset with the debacle and claims it ruined her trip as she had to wear the smelly outfit to the celebrations.

She commented: “Everyone was getting dressed up for Thanksgiving and then there's me in a tracksuit that I'd been in for ten days.

“It ruined my whole holiday.

"I would normally travel in a tracksuit because it's comfy but that's not what I would wear on holiday – I had dresses, trousers and skirts in the case. I felt like a slob."

Now, Melanie claims she’ll never fly with BA again.

She said: "It's absolutely disgusting, they've had me running around an airport when I've had a heart attack.

"Surely there should've been someone there to help but there was no one. That's where the breakdown with my suitcase happened I think.

"Apparently they found my suitcase at London Heathrow somewhere and they've given it to DHL and it's floating around somewhere.

"I won't fly British Airways again, I'm put off for life. I wouldn't recommend them ever again. It's just been one big nightmare."

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A spokesperson for British Airways said: "We're sorry for the delay to the customer's journey due to the late arrival of their inbound flight caused by adverse weather conditions.

"Our teams proactively booked the customer on the next available flight and they arrived in Boston ahead of their planned original arrival time."

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said British Airways are responsible for Melanie's bag since the booking was made with them and they were the final carrier.

DHL claim that they attempted delivery of Melanie's suitcase but the address could not be located, 'possibly due to an error on the label' and so they were forced to return it to the sender.

Eagle Aviation, British Airways' courier that gave the parcel to DHL, claim they were unable to get hold of the passenger to query an issue with the address and so the case was returned to Heathrow on 21 December.

A spokesperson for DHL Parcel UK said: "Delivery was attempted but the address could not be located, possibly due to an error on the address label.

"We tried to make contact with the recipient using the phone number provided and we also requested additional information from the sender.

"As we did not get any further information the parcel was returned to the sender."

A spokesperson for Eagle Aviation confirmed that they received the luggage on 8 December from JetBlue at Heathrow to be delivered via DHL but DHL informed them that there was an issue with the address.

They claim that colleagues at Heathrow attempted to contact the passenger on the telephone number provided by the airline but there was no answer and so the luggage was returned to Heathrow on 21 December.

JetBlue were contacted repeatedly for comment.

Melanie finally got her suitcase back yesterday – January 3.


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