Joyce Jackson, a 78-year-old woman from Abergele in Wales, says her poignant plans have been ruined after Virgin Atlantic lost her luggage when she flew from Manchester to Orlando. The luggage contained her and her late husband’s wedding rings, as well as his ashes.
Jackson’s husband died last year, aged 78, in a tragic accident. Ahead of his 80th birthday and just before their wedding anniversary, Jackson flew to Florida to bury the ashes and the wedding rings at Walt Disney World, the couple’s favorite holiday destination.
What happened to the luggage?
According to Joyce, Virgin Atlantic accidentally left her suitcase at Manchester Airport, and she blames a “flimsy” bag tag for this. She said:
"At Manchester Airport, I was told I had to use the self-service bag drop. I did that and got a luggage label. A man put it on. It wasn't a sticky label where you loop it round a handle and stick both ends together. It was more like a paper one. But it must have come off.”
Revealing she had made a classic error at a time of airlines losing luggage due to staff shortages as the post-COVID travel recovery accelerates, she said:
“I got to Orlando, and no luggage. I travel light and I only had what I was wearing, not even a toothbrush."
She also said:
“But the worst thing about it was the ashes and rings were in the suitcase. I know you can't take a person's ashes with you so I only had a few ashes and our wedding rings. I was going to bury them in a garden at Caribbean Beach Resort. The main ashes are in a rose pot in our garden.”
However, she spoke very positively of Walt Disney World, which appears to have actively helped her out:
“Disney were very good, considering it was not their problem. They gave me a toothbrush and arranged for a taxi to take me to a supermarket so I could buy hairspray and toothpaste. I also bought three dresses, a T-shirt and a bag."
She estimated she spent some £700 ($810) on all the clothes and toiletries she had to replace.
Where was the suitcase?
The suitcase was stuck in Manchester Airport all along, but Jackson only found this out when a duty manager in Orlando finally located it.
She has already returned to the UK two weeks ago and has now been reunited with her luggage.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said:
"We’re sincerely sorry that Mrs Jackson did not receive her luggage in Orlando, particularly in these circumstances. Unfortunately the bag tag became detached during its journey through the baggage system at Manchester Airport and it took longer than usual to match the bag with Mrs Jackson’s booking. We’re working closely with our Manchester handlers GBS (Global Baggage Solutions) to improve the process for ‘tagless’ bags and in the meantime, we’ve been in touch with Mrs Jackson directly to apologise."
Jackson is not going to go to Orlando again. She believes this was her last chance to bury the ashes and the rings because she cannot afford to go once more and because she is already 78 years old.
This article originally appeared on Simple Flying