Lost/Delayed Luggage at Toronto
TORONTO -- A copy of my letter to Air Canada President Robert Milton, and to Lost Luggage Department. Still no reply.
We are becoming very frustrated, and disillusioned with Air Canada’s handling of our lost luggage . It has been 6 weeks since our bags left Calgary with us for Bermuda, and they are still "delayed". I cannot understand how two large suitcases can be delayed, if not lost, for so long. I request that some positive action be taken to find these bags, as it appears to us that the Lost Luggage Department is unable or unwilling to assist us in this matter.
We flew Executive class from Calgary to Toronto on AC 134 on November 11, 2006, arriving in Toronto about midnight. Check-in staff in Calgary first said we would have to claim our bags in Toronto as we were not departing for Bermuda until the next moring, but after checking she assured us our two bags were checked through to Bermuda. On arrival in Toronto, a gate check staff checked details on her computer, issued boarding passes for the next leg of our flight and supposedly connected the numbers on our tags from Calgary to the boarding passes to Bermuda. She had to enter the numbers twice to get them right but she assured us the baggage would be checked through, although they would have to wait in Toronto until the morning flight.
We continued Executive class Toronto to Bermuda on AC942 on November 12, 2006. On arrival there it was obvious our bags had not arrived, so we filled in tracing details with an Air Canada clerk there and were given File Reference number. The Bermudian clerk advised us were entitled to $50 per person for essential items, but in spite of travelling Executive Class we would still have to wait 24 hours before we could even get that. After waiting the required 24 hours, we still had no luggage. My wife phoned the 1-888-689-2247 number for your tracing office (just outside of Mumbai, India she ascertained from her conversation with the clerk) and again were told we were only entitled to $50 each, even though we travelled Executive class.
We kept contacting the tracing office via internet. After finding the same message "TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER" on their form for three days, it appeared that this method was going to be no help, so we again phoned the 1-888 number. As the call centre is located in India, the staff admitted they were only able to see the same information we had on the internet. I am sure you can understand that at this point our, our frustration level rose.
We were visiting our daughter in Bermuda for the birth of her baby and one of the cases was full of gifts for the baby and our other grandchildren, including hand-made blankets and hand-knitted sweaters. Worse, there were snowsuits for the children who are all coming back to Canada for Christmas and will need the clothes immediately they arrive to our record low temperatures.
With the cost of living in Bermuda, the $50 went nowhere near covering necessary clothes and toiletries for a 2 week stay. We kept feeling that our 'delayed' bags would turn up soon, but every day the same message on the internet. The worst part of it is that we believe that our luggage was/is in the tally or luggage room in Toronto, because of our evening departure time from Calgary and morning departure from Toronto. And no one would look in the room. My wife asked the India call centre to send a message to Toronto to look in these rooms, but to our knowledge no message was sent as there was nothing on the file when we actually saw it when we were back in the Calgary airport luggage desk. Our cases were very distinguishable and had ship-shaped fluorescent green luggage tags with the information engraved on them . But there was no way we could talk to someone LIVE in Toronto. We even phoned Bermuda luggage and they also never sent any messages.
After 5 days, my wife again contacted the India call centre and was told to fill out a baggage declaration form (which we were not given at the airport) and as our bags "must have lost all their tags" would be in Montreal. (Loss of 1 tag on one case I can understand--all off both, I can't.) And when she told them they had combination locks on them was told that they would slash the bags to get inside them. Not a great thought when they are needed to get the contents back to the destination.
Before leaving Bermuda, the Air Canada check-in clerk again sent a message to Toronto and Calgary to search for the bags and to let them know that we were coming and would want to check while we were there. On our return through Toronto, again Executive Class, on AC947 on November 24, 2006 we checked with Lost & Found desk (no lost bags there), and were directed to the Luggage Department in Terminal 1. Again the staff checked the computer and found the same message - "TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER". We asked to check the Tally Room, and were very helpfully shown the luggage there. Again no bags, and only the assurance that after 5 days all bags would be sent to Montreal for further tracing. However we weren't able to walk round the other room--the baggage room where we really suspect our bags were/are.
Arriving back in Calgary late November 24th, we again checked with Luggage Department and found the clerk there very sympathetic and helpful - though he could find no further information than "TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER". He went so far as to phone Toronto and ask them to walk around the luggage room, but was told that no one had the time to do it. It would appear to us that very little effort has gone into actually looking for these bags. I see two problems here: either more care is needed by ground staff and luggage handlers to prevent loss and delay, or more staff is needed to look for the luggage lost or damaged by them.
The clerk did provide us with a copy of allowances for delayed luggage printed from your information and, it appears we were misinformed by several offices as to entitlements. Apparently we should have been entitled to $100 each, immediately we arrived in Bermuda without our luggage. When my wife phoned India again about this, they said they would add the extra so we would be able to claim the higher amount (which we did indeed have to spend) then said "oops, have to take it back because you are home again"!!!! What is going on? We were also told that it would be at least 3 months before we are compensated for this outlay. And I was also told that our bags wouldn't be declared LOST only delayed so it will be impossible for us to even submit a claim to Visa on our Aero-gold card insurance. And no one from Air Canada will even advise what kind of compensation is going to be offered. Will it cover the total loss?
We have always been firm supporters of Air Canada. We fly AC by choice, rather than necessity. We have always found the staff polite and helpful in spite of what I have heard the media and others saying. However, the lack of assistance in this instance has really shaken our faith. We are currently booked to fly to New York in January for a cruise--we CHOSE Air Canada-- but without compensation for expenses on the past trip, nor even bags to pack for this trip I am questioning my decision of that choice.
I want to know what is actually being done to find these ‘delayed bags’. I want to know why it is taking so long? I want the bags returned in preference to a compensation for lost bags.
I anxiously await such assurances.