A Heathrow visitor whose luggage was lost by a major airline fears his bag will be auctioned off if it is not returned to him within seven weeks. Victoria, 31 and from the United States, lost her luggage after flying to Heathrow with British Airways partner American Airlines on April 3. with his flight.
Now she has learned that Heathrow has a policy of auctioning off lost luggage if it is not found within three months – and fears her personal possessions could be whipped to the highest bidder. She told MyLondon: “When I got to Heathrow I was told I had to get out of there, drive to London City Airport and then fly to Belfast – which I would never have booked myself that was not on my itinerary, and my luggage tags didn’t say that, they said my luggage would go straight to Belfast City Airport.
She told British Airways she couldn’t fly from London City Airport to Belfast, so BA booked her on an Aer Lingus flight. BA insisted that they collect the bags and put them on the new flight. Victoria went to catch her new flight – but her hopes were soon dashed of finding her luggage.
READ MORE: The auction house selling lost Heathrow Airport luggage
“The lady from Aer Lingus said ‘don’t wait for your bag today – British Airways never sends anything to us… It’s in another terminal. You would miss your flight and this is the last one. You will have your bag tomorrow,” Victoria said.
Aer Lingus promised to deliver the bag to its hostel in Northern Ireland – but never saw them again. “I haven’t seen my bags since I dropped them off on April 3,” she added.
Victoria told MyLondon: “I was told at the BA terminal on the way home that they saw the suitcase on their computers. They said my luggage was with Aer Lingus. It’s still a redirect.
“On the phone now they say my bag is at Heathrow – ‘we just have to find it’.”
Now he is in danger of being auctioned off despite his desperate efforts. “I imagine they’re making a lot of money out of it, so there’s no reason to really sort it out. It’s been really stressful and frustrating. I don’t think I’ll ever see my business again,” he said. Victoria said.
Some Alice + Olivia dresses are over £1,500 and start at around £450. Victoria’s bag also contained platform boots and a long coat she treasured.
Greasbys Auctioneers in South West London handle the baggage auction for Heathrow Airport. On a Reddit post in 2012, one user said, “I heard you can get a good deal on electronics there, and they also sell unclaimed luggage bags as seen, which basically looks like a big mysterious box with someone’s lost vacation in there. .”
One user replied, “My roommates and I want to go here. Our plan is to get everyone a suitcase closed and then you have to wear one outfit from your suitcase for a night out.
Another added: “Yeah, I’ve been there. It’s not worth the shot. They go through the bags first and pull out the high-value items to auction off separately.
Initially, Victoria was told by Aer Lingus that despite “extensive searches” they had been unable to locate the luggage. They asked her for proof of purchase or itemized bank statements for the items inside her bag and offered ‘interim expenses’ of £63.00 once they were sent.
But after being approached by MyLondon, Aer Lingus told Victoria: “We will continue to trace your baggage…Under the Montreal Convention, the maximum liability of an airline in this case is set at…1,724.55 $. I have therefore requested a refund check for this value in your name in full and final settlement of your claim… On behalf of Aer Lingus, please accept my sincere apologies for your experience on this occasion and for the disappointment and inconvenience caused Consequently. ”
Victoria believes she received compensation so quickly thanks to MyLondon’s outreach. She said: “I think you reached out to them to get them to compensate me in a timely manner without going through hell first.
“I thought I would never get any money from them…Initially they were going to ask me to provide proof of purchase for every item in my bag…You helped me tremendously.”
However, she added: “My clothes were worth more [than the offer], and there were things that are irreplaceable. But I guess I have to be happy with that.
A BA source has confirmed that in the “unlikely” situation where a bag remains unclaimed or unmatched, it is sent to auction and the proceeds are donated to charity after at least three months in storage.
And an official airline spokesperson added: “We are investigating this with our sister airline Aer Lingus, and we are doing everything we can to reunite the customer with their bag. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.”
In 2019, MyLondon reported on Heathrow auctions: “This modest little Tooting-based auction house has been around since 1919, and is currently busy providing abandoned cases with their new ‘forever home’. Sure, airport staff try hard to reunite suitcases with their owners, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be… You can’t really see what’s inside out of the suitcase until you hand in the cash.The bags are categorized into women’s wear, men’s wear, and kids’ wear, so you can at least hedge your bets to get a decent new wardrobe.
“With weekly deliveries of new bags from Heathrow and around 200,000 suitcases going on sale each month, it’s possible to find some really cool stuff.” As final carrier, Aer Lingus is legally responsible for locating and delivering missing baggage on this occasion. A Heathrow spokesperson said airlines are responsible for baggage.
Josiah joined MyLondon as the first City Hall Editor in October 2021, reporting on the Mayor, London Assembly, Met Police, Transport for London and wider London politics.
He moved from Brussels to south London in 2015, working in communications for the Electoral Reform Society and covering Westminster politics as a freelance journalist. Originally from Cornwall, he is now also a proud Londoner. Josiah has appeared on BBC Radio 4, Times Radio, LBC and other outlets to discuss the news and general political chaos.