Confusion over luggage delay leaves Ontario couple feeling ‘abused’ and frustrated

A couple from Port Rowan reached out to Speakers Corner after what they call a very frustrating process to retrieve delayed luggage. Pat Taney Reports

By Pat Taney

Andy and Margaret Wright, who live in Port Rowan, ON, are teenage sweethearts who’ve been married for more than 50 years. They had been planning for years to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a vacation to a warmer climate.

“Our official anniversary, happened during COVID, so we postponed it until this year,” they said.

The couple decided on Saint Lucia and booked tickets through Air Canada. The flight took off and landed without issue but their checked bags didn’t make it.

“We thought, no big deal, this happens,” Margaret said.

On Sunday June 6, after their arrival, the couple met with an Air Canada Representative and filled out the delayed baggage paperwork, with their home address in Ontario and the name of the hotel where they were staying in Saint Lucia.

The couple later received a text alert from Air Canada stating the luggage was going to be sent to Saint Lucia.

“It would get on the Wednesday flight, and we were told it would be delivered between 6 and 7 p.m. to the hotel.”

But the couple said the next day, they got a call from a courier, hired by Air Canada, to deliver their bags.

“The driver said, ‘I’m an hour away. Can I confirm your address?’ And that’s when we found out he was delivering it to Canada, our home address, when we’re not there. I said, ‘You can’t deliver it. There’s no one there to receive it.’” Margaret shared.

“What happened to it being delivered to Saint Lucia?” Andy asked. “The airline didn’t have any answers but because we weren’t home, they never delivered the bags there.”

The couple then said they began calling and emailing Air Canada, asking if the bags could be put on the Wednesday flight out of Toronto Pearson to Saint Lucia.

“Nobody could answer that, we spent hours trying to figure out what was going on but nobody could tell us.”

Margaret had two outfits to wear. Andy had only the clothes he wore to the island and a swimsuit.

“We borrowed money for this trip and couldn’t go out and buy clothes, they were very expensive so I wore the same clothes everyday throughout the trip,” shared Andy.

Andy said he spent most of the vacation trying to track down the luggage, spoiling what he said, was supposed to be a celebratory vacation.

“I feel like I paid a lot of money to be abused,” he said. “The back and forth with Air Canada and the lack of answers was so frustrating, it didn’t seem that they knew where the luggage was.”

The couple ended their vacation on Sunday June 16, flying back to Pearson Airport, still not knowing the whereabouts of their luggage.

“We only found out the next day after we had already driven two hours home to Port Rowan that the bags were at Pearson the whole time,” Andy said.

“We probably walked right past them at the airport but nobody told us to come there and pick it up, despite us calling them multiple times,” Margaret said.

The couple were told they could come back to the airport on Monday June 17 to retrieve their bags.

“I said I am not driving back there, please have them delivered,” Andy told CityNews.

“They refused,” Margaret said. “I don’t understand they were willing to deliver it to our home when we weren’t there but not now? It doesn’t make sense.”

Andy, who has a disability, then asked to speak to a supervisor.

“I never ever use my disability as an excuse for something but it is very hard for me to sit in a car for four hours and I told the person that on the phone. Finally, the supervisor agreed to have the bags sent to us,” he shared.

We interviewed the couple on June 19 and at that time, they were still waiting for their delivery.

“Just before our interview, we got a message from the claims department, saying, ‘We’re so happy to see that you’ve been joined with your luggage.’ But we don’t have our luggage. It’s not here, I’m thinking ‘What is happening?'”

A day after our interview, the luggage was delivered to their door.

“Unfortunately, the customers’ baggage was delayed on the outbound flight and we were unable to deliver it while they were on their trip as we could not obtain an interim address,” an Air Canada spokesperson said.

We followed up with Air Canada showing the baggage claim paperwork the couple filled out where they wrote down the name of their hotel. They did not respond.

“Our policy is to give customers the option either to pick up delayed luggage or we will deliver it. In this instance, there were some delays, but the baggage is to be delivered,” the spokesperson said. “We will be in touch with the customers regarding this matter, including covering interim expenses they may have incurred.”

We shared the couple’s story with Dr. Gábor Lukács, president and founder of the independent non-profit organization, Air Passenger Rights. He said any passenger separated from their luggage while traveling is entitled to reimbursement for items they will need.

“The most important thing is to just go out and buy reasonable items that are necessary for the purpose of your trip,” he explained. “I’m not suggesting to go on a shopping spree. For example, if you are camping and you’re missing your tent, buy a reasonably priced tent.”

He said the airline is liable for the delay of your baggage up to $2,300 CAD.

“If you have proof that your baggage was delayed, you have proof of your expenses with receipts. The airline will have to pay for them.”

Air Passenger Rights has a detailed list explaining the steps you need to follow if your luggage is delayed.

“A lot of people are still unaware of their rights and while there is no magic bullet to prevent baggage delays you can come prepared to know how to mitigate the negative impact on your trip,” said Lukács.

But the Wrights said they didn’t want to spend anymore money than they already had on the trip.

“I already put this trip on my credit card, I wasn’t going to spend more money to replace all of our clothes and then wait and hope for the airline to reimburse us, our trust at this point is broken,” Andy said.

“If they had just said in the beginning, we can’t get it to Saint Lucia and we could get it at the airport when we returned, that would’ve been the end of it,” Margaret said.

“Losing your bag is not that big of a deal, but it’s the process we had to go through. The barrage of emails, texts and phone calls. It was just overwhelming,” Andy added.

If you have an issue, story or question you’d like us to look into contact us.

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