3 Americans heading to Scotland for The Open had to travel there empty-handed after their luggage got lost and their flights were cancelled

3 Americans heading to Scotland for The Open had to travel there empty-handed after their luggage got lost and their flights were cancelled
Unclaimed luggage piles up at London Heathrow Airport on July 8, 2022.PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images.
  • Three travellers heading to Scotland for The Open got there empty-handed with no clothes, medication, or cameras.
  • The American passengers bags were lost after their connecting flight to Edinburgh was canceled.

Three Americans travelling to Scotland to watch the Open Championship golf tournament had to travel there empty-handed after their airline lost their luggage, they told Insider this week.

The passengers lost their bags after the second part of their two-leg flight from the US to Edinburgh, Scotland was canceled.

Raynee Graeff, Victoria Esparza, and Robert Esparza, who were traveling as a group, flew on Sunday from Austin, Texas to London Heathrow, where they were set to get a connecting flight to take them to Edinburgh on Monday morning, before traveling to St. Andrews, where the 150th Open is being held this week.

They had booked their tickets through American Airlines, though the flights were operated by British Airways.

But their flight to Edinburgh was canceled. The passengers said that British Airways wasn't able to transfer them to another flight, and that they had traveled to Edinburgh by train instead. The passengers said they were faced with a choice: get the train to Edinburgh to catch the start of the Open without their luggage, or get a last-minute hotel booking in London in case their bags showed up, but miss some of the golf.


"We're doing everything we can to reunite our customer with their baggage as soon as possible," a British Airways spokesperson told Insider. "We apologize for the delay and inconvenience caused."

Graeff said that the Esparzas both take medication which was in their hold luggage and were told by British Airways employees that they should ask a pharmacy in the airport to call their doctor in the US to get a new prescription, or otherwise get one from hospital.

They started their time at the Open without their luggage, including clothes, cosmetics, toiletries, binoculars, cameras, and his golf equipment.

It was Graeff's first trip to Europe. "I've waited my entire life to do this," she said. She'd booked her trip in November and spent $1,291.57 on return flights, a copy of her booking confirmation shared with Insider shows.

Graeff said that she had purchased a new outfit especially that she wasn't able to wear, "nor could I wear makeup or fix my hair."


"We are wearing the same clothes until we can shop," Graeff said, adding that they had already bought basics including shampoo, toothpaste, and makeup. She said that she expected to spend around $700 on replacement items.

3 Americans heading to Scotland for The Open had to travel there empty-handed after their luggage got lost and their flights were cancelled
Golfer Rory McIlroy tees off at the Open Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland on July 14, 2022.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The passengers said there was a lot of confusion and conflicting messages from American Airlines, British Airways, and Heathrow, and that none of them seemed to take responsibility. The passengers said that staff had largely blamed the loss on a lack of luggage reclaim staff.

Graeff said that they had been told that they would be reimbursed for the canceled flight, train ticket, clothes, and cosmetics, within reason, but that she hadn't yet received any compensation.

"So frustrating," Graeff said of the experience. "And total lack of compassion for any of it."

The passengers got a call from British Airways on Wednesday. "They said they need to know details of the contents in each bag," Graeff said.


When contacted for comment, a Heathrow spokesperson told Insider that airlines were responsible for luggage.

Chaos reigns in airports

This summer airlines have delayed and canceled thousands of flights because of technical glitches, bad weather, and a combination of understaffing and soaring demand for travel. Customers have complained about huge lines for check-in, lost luggage, and problems accessing customer service.

Insider has spoken to many passengers impacted by the chaos at Heathrow, including Thomas Hatch, who flew with three other passengers from Seattle to London on Sunday, where he took a connecting flight to Rome for a 10-day cruise. The party's eight bags never showed up on the carousel, he said.

Hatch told Insider that there were no designated British Airways representatives at the airport in Rome, and that Oneworld Alliance staff didn't have much information and seemed overwhelmed with customers. The airport let him search through a back room "which was full of bags," but his weren't there, he said.

Hatch said British Airways ultimately told him that their luggage was back in Heathrow and would head to Rome on a later flight – but that flight was then canceled.


British Airways then told him Thursday morning that two of the suitcases were now in the airport in Rome and two were on their way to Athens, one of his cruise's stop-off points, but that the locations of the other four were unknown.

"We had to buy everything just about," Hatch said, adding that his group had spent around $1,500 between them.

British Airways hasn't contacted him about offering any kind of compensation, he said. Hatch said that even his cruise line had been helping out, but to no avail.

Have you been affected by current travel disruptions? Or do you work at an airport or for an airline that's swamped by staffing and cancelation chaos? Email this reporter at gdean@insider.com.