090908aafail.jpgAfter Miguel Olaya's wife lost her battle to pelvic cancer on March 28th, he made arrangements with a Bay Ridge funeral home to send the remains to their native Ecuador. Then he went ahead to make the funeral arrangements, but when he arrived at the airport in the city of Guayaquil, he was told that his wife's remains were, uh, lost. Care to guess which airline? Good old American, which has been in the news recently for its baggage issues.

Of course, this wasn't some Samsonite luggage set that the airline misplaced. Olaya tells the Daily News his 16-year-old daughter drove to the airport every day for four days, and was repeatedly told they could not find the corpse: "My daughter was crying, saying, 'Where's mama, where's mama?'" First the airline believed the body was in Miami, but then after four days it turned up in Guatemala City, according to the Post. But by the time Olaya got his wife's remains, she was too badly decomposed for the planned three day wake. Because the casket hadn't been property refrigerated.

It gets worse. The funeral home director says the airline tried to charge an additional $321 to ship the body to Ecuador after it turned up. But then American realized that the mistake was theirs; someone at the airline typed in the wrong airport code—GUA for Guatemala instead of GYE for Guayaquil. Oopsy! Naturally, Olaya's hired a lawyer, who's shrewd enough to go after the funeral home (for improperly embalming the body) as well as American Airlines, who will likely go bankrupt before Olaya can pry any money out of them.

Photo courtesy Mike Xinnachs / WCBS 880; image artwork by mattmolnar.