what to do when loose purse on flight

What to Do When You Lose Your Purse on a Flight

Last month we boarded a flight from our old state to our new state. While our vehicles would be in transit for a few days and our possessions will be in storage until early February, we were effectively moving during the flight.

For a month we would only have what our luggage carried, so we packed our luggage pretty full! We also maximized our carry ons, so I had both my purse and my diaper bag. The oldest had her backpack and lunch bag. I don’t have an especially large purses – I favor the small ones that don’t fit much more than a large wallet. In my purse I carried some Tylenol, chapstick, my wallet, a bunch of change, about $50 in cash, several gift cards, and my wedding and engagement ring. Unfortunately, my wedding and engagement ring haven’t fit since early in my pregnancy with our second child.

Part of it is weight, though I suspect my knuckles actually expanded (you know, my feet have grown 2 sizes since having kids, so not everything is weight). I’ve never spent the money to resize them, though, since I’m not back at my pre pregnancy weight. I kept holding out that the issue was weight and I didn’t want to pay for resizing more than once. I zippered them in the internal coin pocket of my purse, believing this was the safest possible spot to have them during the move.

Mistake #1 – Not Checking My Area Thoroughly

For the most part, I kept my purse inside the diaper bag. Once we got on the flight and the girls wanted blankets, toys, pacifier, etc, my diaper bag exploded. I took my purse out and set it to the side, mentally noting that I needed to be careful to grab it. I was not careful.

After we left the airport, we stopped at a grocery store. I went to get my purse from the back of the truck and realized immediately that I didn’t have it. It took me two seconds to remember that mental note that I’d made. Even after the flight attendants speech, reminding me to check my area carefully, I had walked away without the most important carryon.

purse that I lost on flight

Mistake #2 – Keeping Record of My Report

I frantically googled for applicable Delta airline numbers and came up short. Every number I could find was for reservations.

So I did what any good blogger would do – I tweeted them.

Delta responded quickly and directed me to an online form. I’m fine with online forms. Love them. I’d much rather do that than talk to a person who is going to interrupt me every two seconds and ask me five times how to spell my name (no ma’am, that’s K-I-R, no! NOT K-R-I… Listen, K…. K-I…. No. I-R. K-I-R…Yes ma’am, I’m sure. I figure I know how to spell my own name).

One problem with this form was that it crashed 5 times on my phone – which was all I had access to. I was sweating and yelling at everyone nearby, which was mostly just my family. I finally got it to go through and the website spit out a case number. It warned me to save it. Well, I just had my phone of course, so I kept the window open, but didn’t do anything else. I’d reopen the app later and the window timed out, so I lost that number. No, they did not send me an email with a reminder. I should have snapped a screen shot or jotted the number in my “Notes” app.

Mistake #3 – Not Immediately Canceling All Cards

Prior to our move, we had run out of checks. We reordered them, but they wouldn’t come for up to 10 business days. So here we were with no checks, no cash, and cards that were in goodness-knows-whose possession. We immediately cancelled the largest of the credit cards. We cancelled the next one a few days later. We monitored our bank accounts for the debit cards, but kept them until we had a replacement credit card.

Since we had just moved, we needed groceries and other supplies, and we actually ended up doing a grocery store run every few days for some item that we needed (like various medicines). Canceling all the cards just wasn’t an option. This is not the recommended course of action; all I can do is pray that we won’t get bit because we kept the bank card active.

Mistake #4 – Not getting the exact information

After the last flight of the day, Delta found my purse. They called me hours after I had fallen asleep, so I returned the call the next day. The guy on the other end played dumb sounded confused – said he hadn’t been told of any found purses. He came back to the phone after a check at my insistence and said it had been found. He made a crack about going shopping with my cards but then asked where to ship the purse. I provided our temporary address.

I did not get his exact name. I did not specify any shipping arrangements (like, gee, overnight?). I didn’t give an email address to get the tracking number. All things I wish I had done.

Mistake #5 Not hounding them (more)

The purse didn’t arrive Monday (not a surprise) or Tuesday. There I was – in a new town, and I basically couldn’t drive or do anything. I needed to enroll my oldest in kindergarten, but I couldn’t do that without a photo ID. Getting an ID in my new state without a diver’s license from a previous state is much, much more expensive and time consuming. It made sense to wait for my old ID to come, but I wanted it quickly.

On Tuesday (about 3 days since the purse had been found), I called back. I got the same guy who’d made a crack about shopping with my cards. He informed me the purse hadn’t even been shipped yet; he wasn’t sure why. I told him that I had no money – no nothing – and that I needed it as soon as possible. He promised to get it sent out.

From the original voicemail, I knew what time they opened and what time they closed. I was able to deduce they had two 10 hour shifts that overlapped by an hour. I called back after the second shift was on independently. I asked for a status again. This time I was told that the purse had shipped second day air the day before. Before I asked, the employee said they did not get a tracking number. Great.

Read also: 10 Tips to Become a Sustainable Traveler

The final outcome

The purse showed up Wednesday. All the cash was gone; I was not surprised. Gift cards were intact, which did surprise me. I went on about my business, grateful that I had my ID.

My daughter randomly started mentioning rings a day later and my heart sank. I’d forgotten to even check for my rings. When we got home, I went straight to the purse and the coin purse was open. And empty. I had already been through the purse thoroughly and the shipping box and contents. The rings were gone.


I contacted my local police, who suggested I contact police at the location the purse was found. Luckily, that was an online form – police report submitted (and saved locally, I might add. I can be taught).  I also attempted to notify Delta that their workers had kept the purse for longer than necessary and didn’t follow the lost item protocol (the online form continues to email me that Delta is looking for my item, since the workers never went through the system). Delta didn’t care.

The one bright spot is that my original wedding band is actually with the movers. I had a custom wedding band designed and the execution had never totally pleased me, so we went another route a couple of years later. However, my husband is extremely sentimental and that engagement ring probably means more to him than anyone else. My heart aches for him, because I know it does hurt him.

It’s a shame to lose anything of value – but especially something sentimental. It’s hard, too, because we won’t have money to replace it for years. And maybe we’ll decide it’s not worth replacing – that we’d rather spend the money on other things.

I hate to say I shrug off the loss of the rings; they were expensive. It’s not like I would have just tossed them in the garbage or anything. But they are “just” rings. They are things. Stuff. My marriage isn’t affected at all by this – I am married whether or not I have a band on my finger.

Sometimes we build “things” up to have substantial meaning and we are crushed when those things are lost or are somehow ruined. Heirlooms, for example, are precious and sentimental, but if you ruin your grandmother’s quilt in the wash, you haven’t lost your grandmother again. It’s a thing. I won’t blame you for grieving the loss of it, but just promise me you’ll come back to “it’s a thing”.

In the end my treasures are not here. I have a much better stash somewhere else


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It