Thousands of people in Miami are left without their luggage until after Hurricane Irma is gone.
Miami International Airport was facing a perfect storm over the weekend, with Hurricane Irma bearing down causing last-minute flight cancellations, and crew shortages with American Airlines. The result? Thousands of passengers are now stuck without their bags.
Because of the lack of staff, American was forced to cancel a number of flights leaving Miami at the last minute after passengers had already checked their bags. Now, the air lines says it will be nearly impossible to reunite travelers with their lost luggage until after the storm passes.
“There is such mayhem at that airport and there are thousands of bags to sift through, there are just not enough people to sift through all the bags for the stranded passengers,” American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello told the Miami Herald. “Obviously we want to get them to the bags, that’s a priority, but our priority is also getting passengers out of Miami. So it’s a tough situation.”
As of Friday, American had canceled 600 flights out of Florida. The airline had flown in additional crew to help with the situation in Miami.
“Our focus has been on getting as many people out as possible,’’ American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody told the Miami Herald. “We’ve flown in additional crews from Dallas, New York and Philadelphia so our Miami crews can focus on their families.”
Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola was one of those affected by the cancellations and missing baggage issues as he tried to send his girlfriend and their son to New York for safety. His girlfriend, Tracy Fatow, had already checked their baggage when American canceled the flight 15 minutes before takeoff due to a crew shortage.
“To me it is unconscionable and there should be some congressional investigations and executives who are fired and severe civil penalties imposed on these air liness,” Arriola said on Facebook about the situation. “It’s a complete failure of an essential part of their logistics chain and safety measures and it has failed 72 hours before a major hurricane.”