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Long Island couple's luggage stuck in Europe more than a week after trip ended

Long Island couple's luggage stuck in Europe
Long Island couple's luggage stuck in Europe 02:37

NEW YORK -- Add lost luggage to the long list of travel headaches piling up this summer.

Labor shortages and strikes in Europe are creating an unusually high number of lost bags and delays. Travelers from New York are pleading for answers, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday. 

The Golden's dream vacation to Spain and Portugal ended with a luggage nightmare.

"It's just a travesty and the lack of response from Air France is horrible," said Susan Golden, a Plainview resident. 

"It's beyond frustrating," Gary Golden said. 

It's been 11 days since the Golden's connection through Paris. They still have suitcases stuck at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Their AirTag trackers ping the location. 

"My luggage is not lost. My luggage is being held hostage by Air France," Susan Golden said. "I tried calling and I got through to an automated system which hung up on me. Their website is awful." 

They're far from alone. Social media is flooded with imaged of bag chaos in airports and airlines across Europe. Travel experts say pack your patience. 

"What's going on in Europe is that it's about three times as many delays and cancellations as we're seeing in the U.S.," said Philip Ballard, chief communications officer for HotelPlanner. "There's a lot of airline pilots strikes, and there's still a staffing shortage, and there's all sorts of labor challenges." 

That includes baggage handlers who have been striking for higher wages. 

"The airlines should have been more thoughtful and strategic a year ago in anticipating this travel surge," Ballard said. 

Air France apologized and blamed strikes for its "higher than normal number of baggage irregularities."

In a statement to CBS2, Air France said, "All baggage is expected to be delivered in the coming days. It takes time because of the exceptional high volume of baggage to be handled." 

But that offers little solace to travelers. 

"There were a lot of people flying to their vacations, including some people who were getting married, that never got their luggage," Susan Golden said. 

"The best advice is the simplest, which is do whatever you can to not check baggage. Carry-on is gonna bey our friend," said Clint Henderson, managing editor of news for "The Points Guy." 

When that's not possible, make your bag easily identifiable. Consider baggage insurance, but read the fine print - you may have to document what you lost. Most airlines offer limited reimbursement. 

"Don't put super-valuable things in," Henderson said. 

The Golden's bags are identifiable and have those tracking tags, yet are still in limbo. 

"We know where our bags are. Just get us our bags," Gary Golden said. 

Delta Air Lines, which booked the Golden's flight on their Air France carrier, told us, "Delta knows that personal items are of great importance. We apologize for the checked baggage delay - returning checked bags to our customers remains our focus. We will continue to be in touch with customers as progress is made to that end." 

Travel experts say overnight and early-morning flights tend to have fewer cancellations and delays and, therefore, less risk of lost luggage. 

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