Airports Packed With Passengers And Lost Luggage - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/27/04

Airports Packed With Passengers And Lost Luggage

A Northwest Airlines agent walked out of his office, and shared bad news with an earlier passenger.

"There is nothing there yet," he said.

The woman's luggage was lost somewhere between Dallas and Gulfport. He told her it could be on the flight about to land.

"It's got extra bags on it," he said.

All over the country, airline employees were still scrambling to reuinte passengers with their lost luggage. Thousands of bags piled up after airlines cancelled thousands of weekend flights at several major airports. The cancellations were due to weather delays, computer crashes and labor concerns.

The domino effect that created didn't sit well with Penny Akers.

"This is my anniversary. And I'm spending it without any luggage," she said.

Akers arrived in Gulfport Sunday to celebrate her 21st wedding anniversary. Her luggage didn't. It got lost somewhere between San Antonio and South Mississippi.

"No way to change clothes to go out to dinner," she lamented. "It's very frustrating."

John Rabby was in the same boat, pulling his hair out because luggage, Christmas presents and golf clubs were lost. He came back to the airport after getting a phone call.

"Some of ours made it in," he told an agent.

The North Carolina man had eight bags that took a side trip to New Jersey before they finally appeared in Gulfport.

"And there they are," he said, relieved that another trip to the store for basic necessities wasn't required.

The moment of truth for other Northwest passengers came at high noon.

People like Elaine Anders stood by the conveyor belt behind me for almost an hour, hoping their lost luggage made it on the inbound flight. Anders couldn't wait for this part of her holiday vacation to finally be over.

"There's still no luggage a day-and-a-half later," she complained.

A suitcase with Anders' name on it finally showed up. So her husband carefully guarded it.

"It feels good," he laughed. "Makes her happy anyway."

Airport workers took countless other bags off the conveyor belt. If the bags could talk, imagine the stories they could tell about the Christmas weekend when they got stranded.

by Brad Kessie

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