“You feel helpless like there is nothing you can do,” Paul Kliffer said.
After hearing numerous reports of airlines losing luggage, Kliffer and his wife invested in an Apple AirTag – a wireless tracking device that can attach to several items, including checked bags.
The technology was put to the test this past November when the Victoria, B.C. couple returned home from Mexico City.
When they landed in Vancouver before departing to Victoria, Kliffer’s wife checked their AirTag on their phone. “It said our bag was 4,000 kilometres away, which didn’t sound good,“ Kliffer said.
The couple discovered the luggage was still sitting at Mexico City International Airport.
Kliffer said he contacted an Air Canada agent and opened a claim right away. He said he was told by an agent he would have his bag returned home shortly.
“My bag never arrived,” he said. “Over the next three days I went back out to Victoria and they again reiterated there was nothing they could do except send a note to Mexico City.”
Consumer Matters: Fight for damaged bag compensation
However, after two weeks, Kliffer said the situation went from bad to worse. He was shocked to discover the location of the AirTag indicated the luggage was now sitting at the international airport in Madrid, Spain.
“How could this happen,” he said.
Kliffer continued to reach out to Air Canada with no results. “They would escalate the file up to a more important stage and I would be contacted in 48 hours. That never happened,” Kliffer said.
Consumer Matters reached out to Air Canada on Kliffer’s behalf. Air Canada expressed its regret by stating :
“We fully realize how inconvenient it is when baggage is delayed and our goal is to always have bags travel and arrive with the passenger. In this case, this regrettably did not occur and, given the time that has now passed without success recovering the baggage, we have advised the customer we are moving to compensation. The claim is currently being processed and we will be following up directly with the customer.”
Consumer Matters: Probe seeks accountability in holiday travel chaos
Consumer Matters also provided Air Canada with a screenshot from Kliffer’s AirTag showing his bag sitting in Madrid, Spain, and asked the airline why it wasn’t trying to find Kliffer’s bag, but the company did not provide a response.
John Gradek, a lecturer at McGill University and program coordinator for the aviation management program said, in his opinion, when it comes to baggage handling, it’s often not a priority for the airline.
“It’s not part of the service strategy of an airline to really make sure the bag takes the least amount of detours to a destination,” he said.
Still, Gradek advised that AirTags can be a helpful tool.
“AirTags for me are a way for you to hold the airline accountable,” he said. “You can basically wag the airlines’ tail pretty hard by getting on their case and saying ‘please get my bag moving’,”
However, in Kliffer’s case, with Air Canada stating it’s moving to compensation, he said he’s now left feeling abandoned.
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