United Customer Says AirTag Tracked Lost Luggage to McDonalds

Bad weather, flight cancellations, and lost luggage have made traveling without incident over the holidays next to impossible.

Bad weather, flight cancellations, and lost luggage have made traveling without incident over the holidays next to impossible.
Image: Anthony Kwan (Getty Images)

Traveling has been an absolute nightmare for many over the past few weeks, to put it mildly. Flights have been canceled, airports have been mobbed, and luggage has been lost—or has it? A traveler’s lost luggage journey has gone viral on Twitter after she documented her belongings moving across Washington DC with an Apple AirTagcontradicting United Airlines’ claims to her.

According to her Twitter thread, Valerie Szybala claimed on January 1 that United Airlines lost her bag and was lying to her about its whereabouts. Szybala’s Apple AirTag that was attached to her luggage led her to an apartment complex where she found other bags (but not her own) from United Airlines flights near the building’s dumpsters, as seen in photos she shared on Twitter. After reaching out to United’s customer service via Twitter DM’s, and explaining that she tracked her back to a random apartment complex, Szybala was told to “calm down” and that United would deliver her bag to her since it was sitting “at the delivery service.”

In an update that same day, Szybala says that her luggage was moving for the first time since December 30 and was sitting near/in a McDonald’s outside of downtown Washington DC The AirTag then moved from the McDonald’s back to the apartment complex Szybala was first led to.

Yesterday morning, Szybala reported that her AirTag was moving again and was located 16 miles outside of Washington DC downtown, where she suspected it could be a part of a delivery from United. However, the AirTag did return to the same apartment complex again. Szybala says that after she returned to the apartment complex—with news crews who were documenting her story—she finally got her bag back, albeit under odd circumstances.

“Hello Valerie, I hope you are back [sic] having a happy and blessed holiday season,” a text message Szybala received said from a person who claims to be associated with a company called DCA Couriers United. “I’m delivering the luggage missing from your flight with AA/UA. I want to apologize [sic] for the inconvenience that you’ve had with your bag. Imma deliver it to you today. The issue was that the bag was given to me under a different passenger and I delivered yours in a different address and had to go back to that place and pick it up.”

After calling the number associated with that text message, Szybala says she was greeted by a man that “looked a little surprised” to see her with the news crews. While skeptical of the circumstances surrounding the text message, Szybala was excited to have her bag back, but is still interested in answers around why the bag spent so much time moving around the Washington DC area while returning to a residential apartment complex.

Szybala and United Airlines did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment. This lost luggage debacle comes as many travelers have started using AirTags to help keep track of their bags.


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