Ben Werner was told that his luggage could not be found after his flight was cancelled.
American Airlines told passengers the flight was canceled due to a fuel shortage and bad weather.
Passengers queued for their luggage until close to midnight but were told to come back the next day.
An American Airlines passenger was told that his luggage could not be found after his flight was canceled at Ronald Reagan airport in Washington, DC.
Ben Werner, 38, said the airline told him it did not know where his luggage was, even though it had never left the airport.
Werner and his wife had been due to fly to New Orleans on Thursday, but the flight was delayed and then cancelled.
About 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 3.30 pm, passengers already on the plane were told that no pilot was available so it was delayed by an hour.
Passengers waited on the aircraft for about three and a half hours after the pilot arrived only to be told about 7.30 pm that the flight had been canceled due to “a combination of weather conditions and not having enough gas”.
“Initially they tried to rebook us on another flight after waiting in line for two hours but it didn’t make sense,” Werner told Insider. “It would have meant three layovers and 16 hours to get there when originally it was a two and a half hour trip.”
He said they were told to get their luggage from baggage claim, but it was filled with hundreds of “irate” and “upset” people waiting in lines.
Close to midnight security officers told passengers that the baggage claim area was closing and that they must return the following day to retrieve their missing luggage.
“Security was called down before they made the announcement that no one would get their bags until the next day in anticipation of a mob scene because lots of people were very upset, cursing and crying,” Werner said.
He said they spent about 12 hours at the airport and felt the situation was “extremely mismanaged”, with American Airlines being “completely understaffed”.
Werner, of Woodbridge in Virginia, returned the next morning to be told that his luggage was still at the airport and that it should be arriving on a carousel at some point that day. He waited for another two hours before giving up and going home.
American Airlines was contacted for comment.
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