(WSVN) - From the joy of landing at your dream destination to the dismay of discovering your luggage is not on the plane. Instead of nice clothes, they had shirts and shorts. When months passed without their bags being found, they wanted answers and turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

You may have had it, the dream of an incredible vacation, a cruise to a far away country to celebrate your birthday. Jill did.

Jill Putney: “My dream was to go to Greece. Oh, my gosh. It’s stunning. Greece is absolutely magnificent.”

Jill and Joseph had waited years for the trip, and in July they went.

Joe Yselonia: “Not the dream vacation we were looking for.”

Not the dream because when they landed in Greece, they discovered their three suitcases didn’t land with them.

Jill Putney: “It was the worst, because I just kept hoping. I’m like, it has to come off. It’s got to be here. It’s got to be here.”

The cruise ship was set to sail, and they had to scramble.

Joe Yselonia: “Essentials, essentials like underwear, socks, shorts.”

The cruise line told them it happens, but don’t worry, the bags always arrive.

Jill Putney: “They promised us, oh, it’ll be at your next port, and then every time it was at the next port, at the next port.”

As you can see from the pictures, they bought a few T-shirts and shorts, but they couldn’t wear the comfortable clothes they had packed.

Joe Yselonia: “Five pair of shoes are in there for me. I have a suit in there.”

Jill Putney: “Everything that I loved. You know, your favorite pair of jeans, all your formal wear for dinners.”

And when Jill and Joseph showed up at the formal dinners they had dreamed about, they were embarrassed to be in T-shirts.

Jill Putney: “You get to the maitre’d, and he’s like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry sir you can’t come in because you’re not dressed appropriately,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, no, no, we’re going to eat dinner like everyone else.'”

They did take excursions each day. Jill did get a cake for Jill’s birthday, and they did have fun.

But every evening, Jill was on the phone trying to find their luggage.

Jill Putney: “Then, 23.3 hours of phone calls on the cruise, I calculated it.”

The airlines could not find their bags.

Their trip ended, they returned home with some good memories tarnished by the luggage fiasco.

Jill Putney: “I just want my things. I just want my bags. Just help us find them.”

Well, legally, Howard, what is an airline required to do about your lost luggage?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “They are not required to find them, but they have to make a good faith effort to return the property. If they cannot find the bags, they have to pay to replace the contents, up to $1,780 for an international flight. If it’s a domestic flight, the airline has to pay you $3,800 per bag if you can prove the contents were worth that.”

Jill didn’t want the money, she wanted her favorite clothes back and this took us a couple of months.

They flew American Airlines to London, they gave the bags to British Airways, who flew them to Chania and had proof they gave the luggage to Sky Express to fly to Athens, making them responsible for finding the bags.

Sky Express wouldn’t answer my calls, but British Airways reps in Greece contacted them for us.

Give British Airways credit for making Jill’s wish come true.

Joe Yselonia: “We got them back.”

Jill Putney: “We are happy, ecstatic.”

Even the bags’ arrival was strange. Two came with British Airways tags, the final one came a few days later with an American Airlines tag.

Jill Putney: “And I don’t know. You must be a magician.”

And by losing their bags, they learned some lessons.

Joe Yselonia: “We learned there’s something called Apple tags.

Jill Putney: “Yes. I learned that you do not put things that you absolutely love in your bags.”

And Jill had one more.

Jill Putney: “And I learned that if you need help, you call Patrick Fraser on Channel 7. I cannot thank you enough. Like, we would never have received them back if it wasn’t for you.”

Glad we could help.

The key- never give up.

We emailed the airlines every day, even called them in Greece.

Persistence pays off.

Left with unwanted baggage? Can’t find a solution? Pack it up and drop it off with us, so we can leave you soaring.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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