It was my birthday, and I couldn’t have been more excited to get away for two weeks in Sorrento, Italy.

But little did I know, I wouldn’t have my suitcase for the entire time I was there.

I had read the stories and seen friends caught up in the travel chaos where some were waiting in long queues at Manchester Airport.

I mean it was at a time when the aviation industry was continuing to suffer with major disruption, as a surge in demand for travel coincided with staffing issues.

So, I knew this and understood this.

But I was still determined to go on holiday, and I just said to myself ‘you’re going on holiday, your flight is not cancelled, it’s all going to be fine’.

Me and my partner Nick, checked in fairly smoothly, and as expected there was quite a queue going through security.

The Bolton News: Hundreds of left suitcases in Manchester AirportHundreds of left suitcases in Manchester Airport

After a lot of waiting and a lot of queues, we finally made it on the plane and I was so excited.

Once we arrived at Naples Airport, we headed to the baggage carousel and after it stopped and started again, Nick’s suitcase was the first off.

I watched as passengers collected their suitcases, but mine was nowhere to be seen.

I looked around where luggage had been left, but I couldn’t see it.

So, we headed to the customer service desk, where someone else from Manchester was also missing their suitcase.

I was trying my best to stay calm and hopeful that it was probably still at Manchester Airport and would at the very least be sent to my hotel soon after.

I was handed the Property Irregularity Report to fill in, with my basic details, and information about the suitcase.

But I left not knowing where my suitcase was or what had happened.

It was important to me to find it because I mistakenly packed some very sentimental jewlery. 

When we were on our way to the hotel, I tried my best to take in the views, but it really wasn’t a great start or easy to relax at that point.

It was 40°C when we made it to the hotel, and I know I should have worn something for the weather, but I wanted to be comfy in my joggers and t-shirt.

The Bolton News: Just some of items I had to purchase during my holidayJust some of items I had to purchase during my holiday

I know I should have mixed my suitcase with my partner’s and put some items in my hand luggage, but my suitcase had never gone missing before in all the time I travelled, so it just wasn’t something I thought of.

I know to mix my suitcase now though.

But at the time, the reality was that on the first day I was at the hotel, I had nothing to wear or anything that you would pack for a holiday.

It was a nightmare.

I had to spend time out of the holiday shopping for clothes, basic toiletries, suitable footwear, swimwear, and underwear, which was costly.

I even went to the laundrette on one occasion, so I didn’t have to keep spending more money, even though it was a really good service.

It was so frustrating and truly upsetting when I had already spent time before the holiday making sure I had everything I needed, along with the process of packing.

Part of my daily routine was to contact TUI, the company I booked the holiday with, to see where my suitcase was, and it was the same message every day, where I was told that there were no updates.

This continued for two weeks, with little to no information or assurance as to what was going on with my suitcase.

Although at times it really did put a downer on the holiday, it was still the most beautiful place I was lucky enough to go to.

We travelled on a small boat to Capri where we got to see the island from a bird’s-eye view on a chair lift; Pompeii and Herculaneum where many temples and columns were still standing despite being destroyed by Mount Vesuvius; the beautiful Amalfi Coast and Positano; Naples; and Mount Vesuvius and a traditional Italian Vineyard.

During the trips and the incredible food and wine, my mind was focused on that, and that’s when I started to relax.

The Bolton News: Some of the many beautiful sights in and around SorrentoSome of the many beautiful sights in and around Sorrento

A spokesperson for Swissport, which deals with baggage at airports, said: “The post-pandemic return in travel demand is positive news, but the peak periods – which can be stretching even in normal times - have exacerbated resource challenges across the recovering aviation industry.

“Airlines, airports, and aviation services all work together to deliver different elements of a single passenger journey and the knock-on effects of delays stemming from one part, such as airport technical issues or security queues can lead to disruption in others.

“We are very sorry for our part in the disruption people have experienced and we have been working hard to address our resource challenges, with over 3,500 new hirings since the start of the year.

“We will continue to work with our partners to find solutions for this industry-wide issue.”

It was only on Monday, July 11 when I came back to Manchester, that my suitcase was then delivered to the hotel I was staying at in Sorrento, even though I previously said that Sunday was the last day to send it to the hotel because we were leaving early the next day.

It has now been just over three weeks and I still don’t have my suitcase, although I was advised it would be delivered to my house last Friday.

TUI has been approached for a comment.