A passenger who spent more than a week trying to find his lost luggage eventually decided to storm an office at Melbourne Airport after the GPS tags attached to his suitcases pointed him in the right direction.
Shane Miller, a cyclist and I.T. professional from Ballarat, landed at Melbourne Airport with Singapore Airlines in early-June after a week-long trip to Europe.
When he failed to find his suitcase on the baggage carousel, Mr Miller was told his bag hadn’t made the connecting flight and was still somewhere in transit.
Airport officials told him he would be contacted as soon as it was found.
After filling out the required lost luggage forms with Singapore Airlines and their baggage handler Swissport, he left the airport and returned home.
What the airport didn’t bank on however was the the Apple AirTag attached to Mr Miller’s bag, which pinged a few hours later.
‘The location of my bag wasn’t visible until it arrived at Melbourne about 8.30pm after I was back home in Ballarat,’ Mr Miller told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
‘I was relieved to know the location of my bag and had expected ongoing updates and delivery within a day or two.’
Shane Miller flew into Melbourne last week after a quick trip to Europe but his luggage was lost. After a full week of no response from customer service about his bags he travelled to the Airport himself (pictured) and tracked it using the Apple AirTag on the bag
In a video, uploaded to YouTube this week, Mr Miller said he spent a week trying to contact the airline and Swissport but failed to speak to anyone in customer service.
‘I didn’t think there was that much in the bag but after tallying it all up this week there’s over $6500 worth of stuff in there,’ he said.
‘The bag itself is $800, there’s cycling gear worth a few thousand, cycling kits, clothing, gifts for my family.
‘My beef with Singapore Airlines and their ground handling service Swissport is that there’s been no interaction. The number I was provided for Swissport the night I landed I’ve called 16 times and received no callbacks whatsoever.
‘It goes to voicemail and somebody is checking those because the box is emptied every few days – but no response’.
Mr Miller followed the pinging Airtag towards his lost luggage leading him into the inner passages of the airport where he was stopped by security (pictured)
Mr Miller’s Apple AirTag was showing him the suitcase’s exact spot – a security office at Melbourne Airport.
‘The website that lists the lost luggage cases hasn’t been updated. If I didn’t have that tag I would have no idea where in the world the bag was, the last I’d seen of it was at the airport in Amsterdam,’ he said.
‘After a week of unsuccessful attempts at getting my bag I decided to get in the car and drive back to Melbourne Airport and start knocking on doors.’
After making his way to the Swissport offices he followed the app through rooms filled with luggage labelled with baggage check-in tags (pictured)
After driving the two hours from Ballarat and paying $30 for a half-hour of airport parking, Mr Miller headed into Terminal 2 and followed the location tracker on his app.
‘Hopefully this will be a case of just pick your bag from this lineup but I don’t think it will be that easy,’ he said.
After walking into a baggage area behind security doors, a friendly guard informed him the office for Swissport is upstairs and that the locator might be pinging the upper level.
He went upstairs and was invited into the Swissport offices by an employee after explaining his situation.
He was then led, still following his phone, through rooms which appear to be filled with stored luggage, sports equipment and even a guitar amp, all labelled with bag tags.
Mr Miller then finally located his bag among the collection after venturing into a third luggage room and was allowed to collect it after showing his ticket and ID matched the baggage tag.
He eventually located his own bag among the collection (pictured) and is allowed to leave with it after showing his ID
On the drive back, Mr Miller expressed his frustration at the situation.
‘I had a conversation with them about the customer service line being unanswered and they acknowledged that,’ he said.
‘I’m lucky I got my bag back so easily. Given there was so many other bags there, I just know there’s other people missing their luggage as well.
WHAT’S AN AIRTAG?
An AirTag made by Apple is a tracking device shaped like a small disc similar to a keyring that can be attached to bags, electronics and cars.
The device emits a weak Bluetooth signal which can anonymously link up with any Apple device within 40m.
The worldwide network of Apple devices act as a GPS grid that can report the location of the item on an app – in the same way the Find My Phone feature works.
Users are required to acknowledge that tracking people is illegal. An inbuilt alarm will chirp when the location is being tracked.
The tags retail for about $45AUD with competitor Samsung having a similar priced version called a SmartTag.
‘Those people probably don’t have AirTags and won’t be able to get through on the phone or email.
‘Is that customer service? Having a lot of people’s bags, maybe a hundred, dumped in a spare room with no apparent follow-up.
‘There’s a tonne of bags in there across multiple offices, piled up on and around office desks, and I didn’t see any indication they were being processed.’
Mr Miller told Daily Mail Australia that even after collecting his bag himself he has had no contact from Singapore Airlines or Swissport and the the ‘Delayed Baggage Report’ on the website he was given remains unchanged.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Swissport and Singapore Airlines for comment.
Singapore Airlines said their procedures were being reviewed.
‘We are aware of the issues raised but are unable to comment on specifics due to customer confidentiality,’ a spokesperson said.
‘SIA works closely with our ground handlers and service partners to ensure that there are sufficient resources to support our flight operations.’
‘We continue to work with our ground handling partner in Melbourne to ensure additional staffing is secured and that customers are kept informed as to the status of their mishandled luggage.’
‘This includes introducing a dedicated office for mishandled luggage and additional staff who are tasked with answering and responding to customer phone calls.’
MR MILLER’S MISSION TO GET HIS ‘LOST’ LUGGAGE BACK
Early-June: Mr Miller arrives at Melbourne Airport in the early afternoon after flying back from a week-long trip to Europe.
His luggage is not in baggage collection and airport staff tell him it has been misplaced in transit. He fills out forms and is told they will contact him when its found.
About 8.30 that night: The app on his phone registers the location of the AirTag on his bag after it arrives in Melbourne on a later flight. He expects it will be delivered in a day or two.
A week later: Mr Miller has not received his luggage or any communication from Singapore Airlines or their baggage carrier Swissport. He has called Swissport 16 times and gets voicemail and no callback.
June 20: He can see exactly where his bag is using his phone, so a frustrated Mr Miller decides to go the airport and ‘knock on doors’ to get it back.
He follows his phone app through the airport to Swissport offices where he finds rooms filled with stored luggage labelled with check-in tags.