VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A local mother says JetBlue lost her luggage and along with it, precious keepsakes.
CBS2’s Kristine Lazar spoke to Tracy Cassella, the heartbroken woman.
Cassella, her husband John and their 1-year-old daughter Francesca were at the end of a vacation visiting family back east.
They were at New York’s JFK Airport on New Year’s eve, about to board a Los Angeles-bound flight.
“The crew member got on the loudspeaker and said ‘If there’s anyone willing to gate check their luggage, it would be greatly appreciated because we have a full flight,'” Cassella says.
She said she was in the holiday spirit and agreed to hand over her carry on — even though it had some pretty precious cargo . The carry on contained items she bought to show off to her family. Cassella said the bag contained her wedding album and her daughter’s baby book.
“Everything,” she says, “went into that baby book. Everything.”
Also in the bag, a stuffed bear named Barry given to Cassella when she was a baby.
“I’ve had that bear since my first Christmas,” she said. Barry was even the ring-bearer at her Catalina wedding.
At LAX, they went to get their bags and found the carry on missing.
“It’s gone, why did I check it?” she says. “Why did I trust strangers with something so precious to me?”
On paper, the items don’t have a lot of monetary value but they are priceless nonetheless.
“I know it seems weird for a 37-year-old to be crying over, you know, something like that, but I had that bear forever and he means a lot to me.”
Cassella knows she can re-order a wedding album, but the baby book is irreplaceable and can’t be replicated.
The book contains things like her hospital tags and Francesca’s first onesie she wore in the NICU.
“We can’t get her baby footprints back” says Cassella. “It’s devastating.”
JetBlue has offered Cassella $100 for her missing bag and another $400 if they never find it. The airline told Lazar 97 percent of their lost luggage is located within a day, but they are still looking.
“It really is a cautionary tale,” Cassella says, “if you love something that much, don’t gate check it, don’t bag check it.”