Family out thousands of dollars after airline changes course on baggage claim

ABINGTON, Mass. — Where do you get hockey equipment in Prague?

An Abington family found out when their airline lost their luggage -- including all of their daughter's hockey gear.

Emily Smith, 17, was headed to Prague to compete with an elite U.S. team called the North American Stars.

But the missing luggage was just the beginning of their hockey headache.

"The two bags that we absolutely needed to have didn't make the trip," her dad, Richard Smith, explained. "It was just gut-wrenching."

"I was like, 'oh my God, we're in Prague to play hockey, and we don't have the one thing that I need,'" Emily said. "My chest protector, my pants, socks, my jersey to play for that team, my brand new helmet, my skates."

The list was long.

Back home in Abington, her mother, Kristine, was on the phone with the Swiss Air.

In Prague, the team headed to the tournament with Emily sitting on the bench through several games and practices.

That is until, Kristine reached a solution with Swiss Air.

"She told me, 'Swiss Air will cover it. Go and buy new gear,'" Kristine told FOX25.

Krisitne said many hours and phone calls of wrangling resulted in a representative approving new gear.

With an hour-and-a-half to the next game, Emily and her dad raced to a sporting goods store.

"Emily was just pulling things off the shelf, trying stuff on, and the guy was shaking his head like, 'What's going on?'" Richard said.

It ended up costing $2,300.

Then, just 12 hours later, the missing luggage arrived.

Kristine claims the airline has since backpeddled, saying they won't cover the cost of the missing gear. She said she's showed them her claim and asked to hear the recording of the phone conversation where approval was granted, but it hasn't helped.

"I still have got nothing," Kristine said.

FOX25 reached out to Swiss Air via email and phone, but had not heard back by the time of this posting.

The Department of Transportation says the rate of lost baggage is down in the United States.

According to travel advocate sites, U.S. airlines are required to cover about $3,300 in lost baggage. International airlines have to cover up to less than half of that.

But when it comes to baggage that is delayed and not lost, each airline makes up their own rules, according to the Department of Transportation.