Visiting mom endures lost luggage ordeal

May 13, 2009 4:23:20 PM PDT
Her bag with medication and a leg brace has been missing for a week.

The trip was supposed to be a special gift for Mother's Day. Dominga Lopez Santos' family flew her in from San Juan, Puerto Rico for a 6-week visit.

It is the first time the 73-year-old woman has seen family in Philadelphia in five years. But when her US Airways flight arrived on May 6, her luggage did not.

"It makes me angry," said Lopez Santos' daughter Sonia Oquendo. "I'm so sad because the trip has been ruined for all of us."

Inside the missing bag is Lopez Santos' diabetes medicine and a custom-made leg brace that has allowed her mobility since she suffered a stroke. The airline's response, said Oquendo, was "'We apologize. We're doing everything we can, continue to call back.' That went on for three days."

Now, a week later, there is still no luggage. Oquendo says many agents were rude, never made promised follow-up calls and never offered compensation for the $1000 custom brace or the medication.

"It affects her because she can't walk," she said. "They have to carry her or put her in the wheelchair for her to do whatever she needs to do."

This has been hard to swallow for an elderly woman on a tight budget.

"They haven't done enough," said Lopez Santos. "It makes me angry."

US Airways told Action News the family never told agents there was a brace in the bag. And a claim form says the airline is not responsible for medication.

In a statement, the airline said, "We are actively working to locate this missing bag and, of course, apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. We have reached out to this family are working to find a satisfactory solution."

About an hour after we called, an agent called the family offering to help.

"He kept asking me, 'What can I do to make your mom's stay happy?'" said Oquendo. "I mean, find the bag."

Unfortunately, the airline has still not found the bag. This afternoon US Airways did offer to pay for a doctor visit. The family says this is not possible, because Lopez Santos' doctors are in Puerto Rico. They say they are going to have end her visit early.

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