Lost luggage ruins Cairns couple’s New Zealand holiday with one suitcase yet to be found weeks later

How lost their luggage ruined couple’s dream holiday forcing man from the tropics to wear shorts in freezing New Zealand: ‘We’ve probably got 1500 photos of me wearing the same hoodie’

  • A couple’s dream holiday was ruined after their luggage was lost while in transit
  • The Cairns couple travelled to Queenstown via Brisbane for a nine-day holiday 
  • Mark Coles and Simone Bailey had to wear the summer clothes on their back
  • Of their four pieces of luggage none arrived with them, only three arriving at all
  • Mr Coles’ suitcase with clothes and presents is yet to be found 22 days later 

It was a freezing cold night on the South Island of New Zealand and Aussie traveller Mark Coles was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

He and his partner Simone Bailey had flown across the ditch on December 21 as part of a dream holiday they had been organising for nearly three years.

But the Cairns couple’s long-awaited adventure quickly turned soured when Virgin Airways lost their luggage.

Now their comfortable travel attire – suited to tropical Far North Queensland weather and the five-hour flight across the Tasman – would become their only available clothing until their bags were found.

‘We went out the first night and sat in this lovely restaurant. I was in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts,’ Mr Coles told A Current Affair

‘I think people looked at me as if I’m some sort of idiot, the way I was dressed.’ 

Mark Coles and his partner Simone Bailey (pictured) had flown across the ditch on December 21 as part of a dream holiday they had been organising for nearly three years.

Mark Coles and his partner Simone Bailey (pictured) had flown across the ditch on December 21 as part of a dream holiday they had been organising for nearly three years.

The cool Queenstown evening quickly diminished Mr Coles’ confidence that he could brave the weather with the clothes on his back, so he bought a hoodie at a local Kmart to stay warm.

Still believing that his luggage would arrive any day, Mr Coles wore the same outfit of a slim hoodie, a T-shirt and denim shorts every day of his holiday.

‘It was a great holiday and we got great snaps,’ he said. 

‘But we’ve probably got 1500 photos of me wearing the same hoodie, the same two shirts and the same pair of shorts.’

The platinum and gold level frequent flyers had checked in two large, and two small pieces of luggage for their nine-day getaway, none of which appeared on the carrousel upon arrival.

Ms Bailey’s luggage eventually showed up two days later as well as one of Mr Coles’ bags, however the suitcase carrying his winter clothes and a Christmas present for his partner never made it to the destination.

The couple were told to check in with Virgin customer service every day for updates, calling a total of 27 times and only ever receiving one call from Virgin.

The Cairns couple's long-awaited adventure quickly turned soured when Virgin Airways lost their luggage

The Cairns couple’s long-awaited adventure quickly turned soured when Virgin Airways lost their luggage

‘Everything’s barcoded, tagged, scanned and they’ve just lost it,’ Mr Coles told A Current Affair. 

The couple eventually boarded their flight back to Brisbane with still no word from Virgin on where Mr Coles’ suitcase ended up.

Mr Coles claims that a lady working at Virgin’s luggage service desk told him all of the four bags were rushed to Queenstown airport on December 22.

Virgin has urged Mr Coles to file a claim for compensation for his suitcase with its whereabouts still a mystery, however he says that ‘all I really want is my bag back. It’s not about the money’.

Virgin Australia (pictured) have ruled out the suitcase being at either Cairns, Brisbane or Queenstown airport, urging Mr Coles to file a claim for compensation

Virgin Australia (pictured) have ruled out the suitcase being at either Cairns, Brisbane or Queenstown airport, urging Mr Coles to file a claim for compensation

Virgin staff have ruled out the luggage being at either Cairns, Brisbane or Queenstown airport.

‘Find his bag it has to be somewhere, it can’t have just disappeared,’ Ms Bailey told A Current Affair.

‘I’d like my Christmas present.’

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia said the airline is sorry for the mix-up.

‘Any delayed or lost luggage is unacceptable and we sincerely apologise to our guests for their experience. 

‘We are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.’ 

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