Airline passenger flew to Burbank, but her luggage landed in a Hollywood homeless encampment

The Hollywood Burbank Airport, on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.
The Hollywood Burbank Airport, on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. A passenger who flew to Burbank found her luggage in Hollywood homeless encampment. (Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)

A Southern California woman who took an American Airlines flight to Hollywood Burbank Airport found that her missing luggage had somehow landed at a Hollywood homeless encampment.

Aunny Grace's troubles began at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on May 29, when her flight was delayed and she had to sleep at the airport overnight, she told NBC Los Angeles. She ended up taking a different flight to Burbank and left without her luggage.

Five days later, the airline sent the wrong suitcase to her house, Grace told the TV station. She realized she could track her luggage using an AirTag attached to her suitcase and saw that it somehow ended up at a homeless encampment.

“When I arrived, my bag had slowly made its way down to Santa Monica and Western and that is when I found my stuff, not my suitcase, but particles of my stuff in a homeless man’s shopping cart,” Grace told KTLA. “You kind of get to a point where you’re looking around the encampment and think, ‘I don’t even want my stuff back.’ I had toiletry bags that were dumped upside down. I had makeup bags. All the makeup was gone.”

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Grace had medicine, jewelry and bags that she had purchased from Bali ransacked from her luggage, according to NBC Los Angeles. She also noticed other stolen suitcases with American Airline tags on them.

“That day I saw dozens of suitcases, brand new suitcases, name-brand suitcases strewn across Western and Sunset,” Grace told KTLA. “Rows and rows of suitcases, bicycles, baby strollers with airline tags on them everywhere.”

Grace's friend, who had accompanied her to find her lost luggage, agreed to pay the homeless man to get her belongings back, according to ABC7. Grace said that she's seen bags left out in the open at the airport, making it easy for anyone to steal them.

"The bags that are delayed, they remove them from the carousel line, and they bring them to the office," she told the TV station. "So you have the bags in the office, and then you have the rest of them are just outside."

American Airlines said in a statement to ABC7: "We strive to ensure that our customers' checked luggage and other items arrive at their destinations on schedule and in their original condition. We are investigating what occurred here and, in the meantime, a member of our team is in contact with the customer to apologize and resolve the issue."

Grace couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The rate of mishandled luggage on the nation's largest carriers has remained relatively steady over the past few years, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Since 2020, the rate of lost or delayed bags has ranged between 4.14 bags for every 1,000 bags loaded into a plane to 6.4 bags.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.