Travel News

Cabin baggage confusion costs traveller £11,000 Antarctic cruise

Simon Calder’s Travel

“On Sunday 12 February 2023, I set off from home to Manchester airport for the holiday of a lifetime,” says Valerie Coleshaw.

“By Monday 13 April I was home by breakfast, without luggage and in total despair.”

Ms Coleshaw, from Bolton, lost her £11,000 Antarctic cruise with Hurtigruten (now HX) after cabin crew on a KLM flight from Manchester to Amsterdam asked her to check in her cabin baggage “as the plane was extremely full”.

She says she was told it would be returned to her at Amsterdam, where she was due to transfer to Buenos Aires and onwards to the southern Argentinian port of Ushuaia.

“I have heard of this happening before. So after checking several times that I would pick it up in Amsterdam, I agreed,” she says.

“Arriving at Amsterdam, my case was not on the carousel. I was advised to go straight to the boarding gate for Buenos Aires and it would be waiting for me there. It wasn’t.

“After hours of badgering the staff, my hand luggage could not be found. In it was my asthma spray.”

She explained to ground staff that her medication was missing. They told the KLM captain, who decided she would not be able to make the 7,100-mile journey without the asthma spray.

“I was left with a member of staff who said she would try to put me on another flight the next day. I realised that without my hand luggage I would have the same problem.

“I could not contact Hurtigruten as all the paperwork was in my hand luggage.

“Having never experiencing anything like this before, I felt humiliated and confused. I was given vouchers for a hotel and flight back to Manchester the following morning.”

KLM says when passengers are asked to put cabin baggage in the hold, they are asked to remove valuables and items needed during their flights as the hand luggage will be forwarded to the final destination.

Ms Coleshaw disputes that this happened and says that she was told the cabin baggage would be waiting for her at Amsterdam airport.

“I have never before been parted from my hand luggage but went along with the request – even checking four times before I boarded the flight to Amsterdam that it would be waiting for me,” she says.

KLM has given Ms Coleshaw a full refund for the value of the flights plus a £500 voucher for future travel.

“It suggests quite strongly to me that they understood the implications of my cases travelling…

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