Long Island couple’s luggage stranded in Europe more than a week after trip ended

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NEW YORK — Add lost luggage to the long list of travel headaches piling up this summer.

Labor shortages and strikes in Europe lead to an unusually high number of lost bags and delays. New York travelers are demanding answers, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.

The Goldens’ dream vacation to Spain and Portugal ended in a luggage nightmare.

“It’s just a travesty and the lack of response from Air France is horrendous,” said Plainview resident Susan Golden.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Gary Golden.

It’s been 11 days since the Golden connection via Paris. They still have suitcases stuck at Charles de Gaulle airport. Their AirTag trackers ping the location.

“My luggage is not lost. My luggage is taken hostage by Air France,” said Susan Golden. “I tried calling and got an automated system that hung up on me. Their website is terrible.”

They are far from alone. Social media is awash with images of bag chaos at airports and airlines across Europe. Travel experts say to pack your patience.

“What’s happening in Europe is that there are about three times as many delays and cancellations as in the US,” said Philip Ballard, communications director for HotelPlanner. “There are a lot of airline pilot strikes, and there’s always a staff shortage, and there are all kinds of labor issues.”

This includes porters who went on strike for higher wages.

“Airlines should have been more thoughtful and strategic a year ago to anticipate this wave of travel,” Ballard said.

Air France apologized and blamed the strikes for its “higher than normal number of baggage irregularities”.

In a statement to CBS2, Air France said: “All baggage is expected to be delivered within the next few days. This is taking time due to the exceptionally high volume of baggage to be processed.”

But that offers little comfort to travelers.

“There were a lot of people flying in for their vacations, including some people who were getting married, who never got their bags back,” Susan Golden said.

“The best advice is the simplest is to do whatever you can not to check the baggage. Carry-on baggage is going to be our friend,” said Clint Henderson, news editor for “The Points guy”.

When that’s not possible, make your bag easily identifiable. Consider baggage insurance, but read the fine print – you may need to document what you’ve lost. Most airlines offer a limited refund.

“Don’t put high-value items in there,” Henderson said.

The Golden’s bags are identifiable and have these tracking tags, but are still in limbo.

“We know where our bags are. Just bring us our bags,” Gary Golden said.

Delta Air Lines, who booked Golden’s flight on their carrier Air France, told us: “Delta knows that personal items are of great importance. We apologize for the delay of checked bags – returning checked bags to our customers remains our goal. We will continue to be in touch with customers as progress is made towards this end.”

Travel experts say that night and early morning flights tend to have fewer cancellations and delays and, therefore, less risk of lost luggage.

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