This story is from Amber of Group 1 about their travel home starting in the Entebbe airport
So... we got to the airport at 5:30. The woman at the first door told us to go to the next the door. The woman at that door told us we could not come in until 6:00 and we had to go through the other door. As we waited in between the doors, a line started to form at one of them. Around 6:10 a women came out and told us the system was down and they would have to check us in manually soon. The people at the front of the line were kind enough to form a blockade to allow all us of to go in front of them.
Once in, they hand wrote our boarding passes and informed us that because they were offline, they could not check our bags through to New York and that the airline would do it in London. On the plane, we were told that we would have to collect our luggage at baggage claim and recheck it. Then we were told not to collect our luggage but to follow the signs to connecting flights. Either way, we only had an hour.
We booked it to the connecting flight check-in where we were informed that not all of us had seats because we had not been checked in from Entebbe and they were working on the luggage situation. The attendant collected all of our passports and baggage claim barcodes and gave us boarding passes and sent us through the layers of check-ins and security. Kristin and I were stopped because we did not have seat assignments. Amanda announced that our gate closed in 15 minutes as the woman was calling someone to see what to do. We waved the others on.
Once we were finally cleared, the woman told us to go up the escalator to gate 15, down the escalator to catch the shuttle to the other side of the airport and so on. Kristin and I began running from one side of the airport to other. We were then stopped in security. The prescription label had come off of her face wash and the officer was asking about it. She said, "We have 9 minutes to catch our flight, keep it."
We arrived at the shuttle where the sign said our gate was 15 minutes away. Luckily, it didn't take that long. We got to the other side, ran up two flights of escalators, and finally saw the rest of our group in line to board. We made it!
All of us were a sweaty mess but we had made the plane and the luggage should have made it on as well. We arrived at JFK with less incident, cleared immigration and waited at baggage claim. And waited some more at baggage claim. When everyone on our flight had cleared the area it became apparent that none of our bags had made it across the Atlantic.
We went on through customs where Pat was hassled in front of me. I stopped waiting to be questioned and the woman looked at me like I had three heads and said, "You can go through." I thanked her and we all went on to baggage claim.
There we learned that five of our bags had been randomly put into Nathan's name somehow. One of my bags had last been seen in Entebbe and was under Nathan's name. The other bag was not listed at all. Amanda shared this situation. It was a hot mess.