Traveling by air: Some people have to wait for months because of lack of luggage

Frustration continues to mount at Canadian airports as reports of lost baggage and delays pile up, with some passengers spending weeks, or even months, waiting for checked baggage. their lost to get back.

Catherine Roberts and her husband, Bob Sales, were planning to celebrate their 70th birthday with a trip to Europe. They flew with WestJet and Aer Lingus from Winnipeg to Dublin via Toronto on May 15. But after their flight to Toronto arrived late, they had to book another connecting flight to Dublin.

Nearly 70 days later, Sales still has not received his bag.

And while they had an enjoyable time on the cruise ship after buying new clothes and underwear for their trip, Sales said the lost luggage was “a dark cloud” looming over his wife’s head.

“It’s horrible. No money can ever replace that,” Sales said in a phone interview with on Tuesday.

As for Surrey BC resident Simon Crimp, who flew with his son on Air Canada from Vancouver to London, UK via Halifax on June 3, his bag was also not found after arriving at the airport. Heathrow.

Like Sales, Crimp also had to spend the first day of the trip rummaging through bags and buying replacement clothes, and lost a precious day of sightseeing. He didn’t get his bag back until July 12 – more than a month after his flight.

“You know, it’s very, very frustrating,” Crimp told by phone on Wednesday. “The trip was basically messed up due to (Air Canada) losing our bags.”


Many passengers who shared stories of missing luggage told that they had trouble getting answers from airline staff about where their luggage was and when they could arrive. .

On Canada Day, his daughter Dan MacLean and his daughter flew with WestJet from Regina to Sydney, NS via Calgary and Toronto, only to find that his luggage and car seat were no longer at their final destination. When he asked when his bags would arrive, he said there was “little or no direction” from staff.

“On a scale of one to ten, I would give (WestJet customer service) zero,” MacLean told by phone on Tuesday. “The staff, of course they’re polite. But that’s just a big change. You ask someone at customer service, you get one answer, then you move on to another. and that answer is completely incorrect. It’s almost like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”

MacLean’s luggage finally arrived at his home in Saskatchewan, 21 days later.

Crimp said he was frustrated when he was held for hours while trying to contact Air Canada staff by phone.

“Basically, you can wait about an hour and a half to two hours before you can connect with someone. And when you connect with someone, they can’t always tell you anything. what you want to know,” Crimp said.

Sales said had a similar experience. In the days and weeks following the couple’s trip, he said WestJet staff repeatedly told him and his wife that their luggage would be delivered to them, even though it never arrived.

And as for Yasmin Bhaloo, whose oversized luggage went missing after she flew on Swoop Airlines from Toronto to Orlando-Sanford on June 25, she said it was impossible to know anyone by phone, or even even on social networks.

“There’s no one to answer your calls. It’s all robot calls,” she told on Wednesday in a phone interview. “I’ve sent them through Instagram, Facebook, through their website. Nothing so far. No one to talk to?”


Under the Montreal Convention, airlines around the world must compensate travelers for any “reasonable” costs incurred, such as temporary purchases to replace missing clothing and essentials. other.

Passengers can claim up to 1,288 Special Drawing Rights, which are units of account used by the International Monetary Fund. That equates to about C$2,300 per passenger, per baggage.

Sales estimated that he and his wife lost about $3,500 between the two of them. Crimp said he also spent about $3,000 to buy replacement clothes for him and his son. Both Crimp and Sales have submitted their costs to the airlines and are awaiting a response.

Crimp said that since it was a Sunday, the only stores where they could buy clothes were expensive souvenir shops. “Most of the regular shops are not open, except for the souvenir shops. So we have to pay the price for tourists,” he said.

Bhaloo was also re-packed after nearly two weeks. Her missing luggage was a box of snacks that she intended to give as a gift to her family in Florida.

Since her box was lost, she was unable to deliver the snacks to her family and had to send them instead. She is currently trying to get Swoop to refund her checked baggage and shipping fees.

But as for MacLean, he said he doesn’t think it’s worth it to try and seek compensation, as he got his luggage back and he didn’t have to spend as much on replacement items. position.

“Thankfully, we don’t have, you know, expensive things. Just clothes, things like that,” he said.

In an emailed statement to, WestJet said it was “committed to doing everything we can to deliver the WestJet experience customers expect from us, and we’re doing our best to connect those who do.” affected guests with their missing luggage.”

“We continue to work with our third-party service providers to reduce baggage delays and have invested in additional WestJet oversight to assist partners responsible for baggage transportation.” and provide our baggage service in a timely manner,” wrote WestJet spokeswoman Madison Kruger.

Air Canada told that the global airline industry continues to face airport capacity issues, mechanical problems with baggage systems, as well as issues with “external suppliers” third of services such as passenger screening, customs and air navigation.”

“All of these and other events, such as a major hurricane, can disrupt our schedules and the flow not only of passengers but also of their luggage, which travel side-by-side. , but more complex than the client.” Air Canada spokesman Tim Fisher said in an email to on Thursday. “We are working hard with partners in the aviation ecosystem and governments to address these issues.” has reached out to Swoop Airlines, but the airline has not responded at press time.

If the airline responds to your request, or if it denies your request, the airline’s consumer advocacy group Airline Passenger Rights suggests taking the airline to the appeals court small.

That’s exactly what Sales and his wife plan to do if they don’t get a satisfactory response.

“I just hope that, whenever we go to court that day, we’ll get a fair hearing and the airlines won’t send their Bay Street attorneys over to beat up some of the guys. 70 years old and beat us,” Sales said.

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