An AA passenger found a very unpleasant surprise in her delayed checked bag…a dead rat.
Merry Cannon was happy to join her husband Leighton in Europe on a business trip. The couple lived in Arkansas with their two children but had lined up a babysitter for their little ones. Their Europe trip would take them to Germany, France, and finally England. At least that was the plan.
On the way out, however, the Cannons missed their connection to Frankfurt and found themselves stuck overnight. AA sent them to Brussels the following day and they ended up driving to France. Their checked bags, however, never made it.
Several days later the bags finally arrived in France, the night before their next flight to London, which was just a long layover being heading back to the States.
Upon arrival back in Arkansas, the cheeked baggage arrived…but Merry’s bag “smelled like a dead body”. Per INC:
Leighton tried to sanitize the handle with Clorox wipes. They brought the bag to a customer service agent, who speculated that maybe it had been left on a runway in the rain at some point during the five days it took to catch up with her, and the smell was from mold.
The bag did not smell when they checked it in France, so the Cannons were not sold on that theory. Could this bag have been stored near a lavatory that leaked? That’s what it smelled like.
AA instructed the Cannons to take the bag home, try to wash it, and if the smell did not dissipate or had permanently ruined the clothing, they could seek compensation.
Merry left the bag on her porch overnight, not wanting to bring the stinking bag inside. The following morning, she attempted to wash the clothes in the bag (using vinegar, bleach, Tide, and OxiClean) but that did nothing to remove the smell of death.
And then she found it.
Under the clothes was a disgusting dead rat.
She screamed, she cried, and she took this picture:
She called AA and a representative promised to compensate her. Next she called the county health department, who told her the rat may be carrying he bubonic plague and to BURN it.
AA offered her $1,648 in cash, the maximum compensation amount as specified by the Montreal Convention.
AA told INC:
We have apologized and are not aware of any similar issues of a rat making its way into a checked bag before. While we are unable to determine if the issue occurred in the United States or overseas, we did apologize to the customer, and they were compensated earlier this month.
How did the rat get inside the bag? According to the Cannons, the bag was not torn nor was it opened by them from the time they picked it up to when the clothes were washed the following morning.
How could the little critter have squeezed in? I’d have to imagine the zipper wasn’t closed completely. How else could it happen? The rat probably scurried in during the long layover in London and found itself trapped inside the bag, suffocated, and died.
If you ever pull you bag off the carousel and find that it stinks, don’t even bring it home. Open it up in front of the airline agent and see what dead animal you find inside…
This is yet another reason I do everything possible to avoid checking baggage.
LOL. I’m sure glad I ate BEFORE opening the Live and Let’s Fly homepage!!!
You’d be surprised just how small an opening critters need to sneak inside something. A hole barely big enough to fit a finger through is enough for a rat to sneak in. I suspect you are correct; a zipper probably cracked open in transit, and it got inside the bag.
Rest in peace little critter. You sought global adventure. You travelled to distant lands, over rough seas and through the clouds. You lived a life that will inpsire the next generation of rats to roam, in peace, to seek deeper purpose. Misunderstood, hated by many and loved by few. Life ended in a suitcase, in Arkansas, the world can be cruel.
I would vomit, for sure, if I found that.
Maybe someone else is grieving for a missing comfort animal? At least it wasn’t United.
I’m touched by SugarRat’s eulogy and the respectful burial indication by county health. I guess it isn’t a good time to share the story of a long-haul flight in business class when a woman screamed after seeing a rat coming out of the catering cart. Dinner was served right on schedule to ensure pax could go to sleep ASAP.
What I find most fascinating about this is that it ends my years long assumption that I am the only Arkansas resident to have ever left North America. Way to go, Fellow Arkies. I”m sorry about the rat.