Qantas has blamed Heathrow Airport for baggage issues after it lost a woman’s bag containing her late mother’s ashes and delivered it four days later.
The unnamed woman’s partner, Annabelle Daniel, had taken to social media to try to speed up the recovery of the suitcase, which had been used to transport the remains home to Australia.
She had been travelling on flight QF2 from Heathrow to Sydney via Darwin, when her case did not appear at baggage claim.
Amid apologies to the passenger, a Qantas spokesperson blamed the incident on baggage handling problems at London’s Heathrow Airport.
“Heathrow Airport has had widely publicised baggage issues over recent days which led to tens of thousands of misplaced bags,” said the Qantas spokesperson.
However, they also confirmed that the bag was being “couriered to the customer from Sydney Airport”.
Ms Daniel had initially raised the alarm about the lost bag on Wednesday evening, four days after the bag failed to appear at the airport.
She tweeted: “Hey @Qantas, my partner’s bag is four days’ late from QF2 on Saturday morning. It has her mother’s ashes in it.
“She wasn’t able to see her Mum before she died, or attend the funeral in 2020 due to the pandemic. No responses from your website. Could you help more please?”
Her tweet received 3,862 likes and 872 retweets.
“She’s so anxious and this has just been a horror show,” she later replied to a concerned follower.
After the airline responded to her tweet with copy-and-paste customer service wording, one follower commented: “How can you be so cold-hearted to have not searched for this luggage with high priority? I hope you deliver it with a big bunch of flowers and an apology.”
Shortly after 7.30am this morning, Ms Daniel told her Twitter followers that the ashes had been returned to the couple.
“UPDATE: all you beautiful Twitter people who took a moment to like, retweet and send words of comfort! After your collective efforts, the bag was located & returned at 3.05pm today. My partner was overwhelmed so many people sent lovely notes and support,” she posted.
“As I said to some, she’s not the kind of person who ever seeks attention or makes a fuss for herself. She’s spent her life & career helping others. She was very distressed missing her mum’s passing and funeral, and at least this last part has been rectified.”
A Qantas spokesperson told the Daily Mail: “We understand that this is an extremely distressing situation for this customer and have apologised for the delay in getting their bags to them.
“We are in contact with the family and are providing updates on the bag’s location.
“The bag has cleared customs and is being couriered to the customer from Sydney Airport.”
They added: “Heathrow Airport has had widely publicised baggage issues over recent days which led to tens of thousands of misplaced bags.”