To those who asked, here is the email I sent to Mr. Branson - I wrote about it the other day here:
From: Johanna Westerman Kolb [mailto:jwestermanr@____]
Sent: 03 September 2014 19:52
To: Richard Branson
Subject: Please help me find my lost bag at Heathrow
Dear Mr. Branson,
I am writing to you because Virgin Atlantic is my favorite airline, and I have been a devoted customer since you launched. I just returned back home to California from a holiday in London and Paris with my 14 year old triplets (two boys and a girl) and 12 year old daughter. We booked our trip months ahead, and since my children had never been abroad, but loved flying Virgin America, naturally we booked flight VS8 to LHR on August 22nd. Back in 2003 I flew business class to London and always told them about how wonderful my experience was. I have been waiting all their lives to take them to the UK. I studied in Norwich and London during my junior year at University so England holds a very special place in my heart.
On our trip we gathered priceless and irreplaceable treasures, special mementos of their first trip abroad, museum exhibition catalogs, one of a kind souvenirs, all carefully packaged in my large suitcase I checked this last Sunday, August 31, for flight VS7 to LAX.
We had six bags total, but I accidentally counted five. It was my last big suitcase that was checked through, apparently missing its tag at about 9.00 A.M., and I remember joking with the agent at the Premium Economy counter about how my children were increasing the weight of the bag by leaning on the scale accidentally. It was not over the limit, but he put a “HEAVY BAG” orange label on the handle, and it went through on the belt. We were the only passengers checking in at the time in Premium Economy; no one was behind us.
When we arrived at LAX, all bags showed up but that one, the one in which I had placed all our gatherings as well as all of my clothes (I am writing to you wearing horrifically ugly sweats at the moment!). Immediately I put in a report with the agents at the baggage carousel, and have been talking daily to the lost/missing baggage handlers at Virgin in London pleading for updates. No one can help me, it seems. One wonderful woman named Laura was the most helpful, reassuring me as best as she could that it would be found. She promised to call me back tomorrow, as she was off work today.
Mr. Branson, I think of my bag sitting there at Heathrow and my anxiety is mounting. I fear that the longer the time lapse, the more likely my bag will be lost forever, including the recording of memories I shared with my children on the camcorder packed in it. It took years of savings and convincing my ex-husband to allow me to take the children out of the country to experience a different part of the world. I have never lost a bag on any of my travels - how ironic that the one that is dearest to me is gone without a trace. Please, is there any way you can help me? I know you are besieged with requests and letters every day. But I have always been a big admirer of you and your adventures. You have inspired both me and my children in ways you will never know. When I heard about you sending your shoes out to a young student close to where I live because she wanted to walk in your shoes, I knew you were an outrageously funny man who actually takes the time to respond to those who look up to you.
In a way I feel silly writing you. When I think about it though, it was worth taking a risk. Nothing is ever accomplished without trying. But in this case, I believe you might be able to help me solve this mystery and thus complete the most fantastic adventure I have known with my children, my first trip alone with all four. I would be so devastated to lose our precious tangible memories.
With my deepest appreciation and respectfully yours,
Attached is my boarding pass with the reverse showing five baggage tickets, in order. The last one ending in 679 was checked right before the big missing suitcase. I was not fully paying attention, as I was minding four children who did NOT want to leave and begin school yesterday, so I missed the fact that I only had five tickets.
(images of boarding passes not included here)