US traveler returns to Europe to retrieve stranded luggage


The heatwave across Western Europe continues as parts of the UK hit record highs. Video / @CommsCreatives via Storyful / AP

An American traveled for 96 hours in Germany to collect his luggage after it was abandoned at Dusseldorf airport.

Lost luggage is annoying, especially when you know exactly where it is.

That was the problem facing Cameron Hopkins and his girlfriend, who had been home for weeks after a trip to Europe but were still waiting for their luggage to arrive.

However, thanks to the Hopkins Apple AirTags placed on the suitcases, he knew exactly where the bags were, at Dussledorf airport.

“It’s an itch you can’t scratch,” he told travel site The Points Guy. “This is madness.”

Since the luggage contained sentimental items from their family trip to Athens, Venice, and Poland, Hopkins knew he had to retrieve the bags somehow.

So, on July 3, he boarded a flight to Europe and began a 96-hour journey to collect them. His adventure would include canceled trains, airplanes, and rummaging through large rooms filled with luggage.

During the initial trip, Hopkins said disruptions were often experienced by the family. The baggage problems, in particular, started when Lufthansa canceled its flight from Venice to Poland. Since they had to travel to a family reunion, they paid £747 to rebook on Eurowings, a low-cost European carrier.

The trip required a stopover in Dusseldorf but they could stay on the plane. However, after arriving in Krakow, Hokins and a few traveling companions realized that their bags had been removed during the spot.

“We get there, and half the people on the plane get their bags back – and the other half don’t,” he said.

When filing a claim, Hopkins showed airport officials his Apple AirTags app that tracked baggage to Dusseldorf.

Unfortunately, as other travelers have discovered, knowing where your luggage is is only half the battle.

Make a rescue plan

Since calls to airline customer service were as helpful as “screaming into the abyss,” Hopkins and his family simply bought essential items and clothing to get through the rest of the trip.

Even after returning home, calls for help were also met with silence. Just five days after landing at Las Vegas Harry Reid International (LAS), he boarded a Condor flight to Dusseldorf via Frankfurt.

It didn’t take long for more trouble to arise and Hopkins’ rematch was called off. This time he opted for the more reliable train service and traveled to Düsseldorf by Deutsche Bahn.

Once at Dusseldorf airport, the staff directed him to rooms where he could pick up his luggage; giant rooms filled with endless piles of awful-smelling luggage.

Eventually, he found his family’s four suitcases. Then came the next challenge; bring them all home.

He then flew to Poland and dropped off bags at his girlfriend’s parents. From there, Hopkins and his luggage all managed to catch subsequent flights and return home.

Despite the efforts the family had to go through, they are still among the lucky ones.

Around the world, thousands of people continue to be separated from their bags full of expensive and sometimes sentimental possessions.

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