‘Relieved, frustrated, upset’: Ontario woman’s luggage returned after allegedly donated to charity

A Cambridge woman’s luggage was finally returned to her, more than four months after she flew home from her honeymoon, and after it was allegedly donated to charity by one of Air Canada’s baggage handlers .

“I just received my bag,” Nakita Rees, from Cambridge, told CP24 on Monday afternoon.

“[I feel] relieved, everything is there, but also, it still almost frustrates me more”.

Rees described his luggage ordeal in a now viral Tik Tok Video It has over a million views.

Rees told CTV News Kitchener that she and her husband returned to Pearson Airport from their honeymoon in Greece on September 10 on a connecting flight from Montreal.

Rees says she picked up her bag at the airport, but her husband’s was nowhere to be found.

“When we got to Toronto, my luggage was there but my husband’s was not. So we did everything we needed to do; our due diligence; fill out the report and contact Air Canada,” Rees said.

“Luckily, we had an AirTag.”

Rees said that by viewing the AirTag location online, she and her husband watched luggage travel from Montreal to a public storage facility in Etobicoke 31 days after arriving home.

She says that’s where the bag has been for the last four months.

“I have sent Air Canada numerous emails with screenshots, asking why it is there and what is happening,” he said.

“We went back to Pearson to speak to a manager who gave us information on how processing works and internal policy on how long they have to hold bags.”

But, Rees says, he heard nothing from Air Canada after repeated attempts to contact them about the missing bag.

In a statement, Air Canada said they were unable to determine where the bag was and that Rees had been awarded the legally specified maximum compensation of around $2,300 in October.

The airline says that when Rees and her husband were traveling in late summer, airlines across the country were still reeling from pandemic-related disruptions to the air travel industry.

“In this particular case, the situation was aggravated by the disconnection of the luggage tag at some point during the trip. Despite our best efforts, it was not possible for us to identify the owner of the bag, it was designated as unclaimed, and we acted to compensate the client,” the statement read.

“In accordance with IATA policy and other carrier practices, customers whose bags cannot be located are eligible for compensation after 21 days and bags whose ownership cannot be determined may be discarded after 90 days, something that we do through an outside company, than donating to charity.”

Rees says that after realizing that Air Canada was not going to help her find the missing luggage, she and her husband went directly to the storage facility where their luggage was kept, based on the location of their AirTag.

She said they found a storage unit full of luggage but had no way to access it, so they sought help from Toronto police, who eventually obtained a warrant and gained access to the unit late last week. .

“[Police] He opened the unit last week and found about 500 bags. At first, Air Canada said it was owned by a third party baggage handler,” Rees said.

“Then after it was investigated and opened up, they said it was run or owned by a charity.”

Rees has yet to see the police report, so he doesn’t know the name of the charity that allegedly owns the storage unit, but says he intends to find out.

Rees says she doesn’t think Air Canada processed her husband’s bag correctly and that they simply gave up before passing it on to a third-party baggage handler.

“We think it was never actually fully processed because the process of finding baggage that doesn’t have a tag is quite long and the description I put in the report was so detailed that it didn’t match a lot of other pieces of baggage, so there should have been It’s been easy to blend with who we are,” he said.

Air Canada’s statement went on to say that they recommend customers always place personal contact information inside their luggage, such as a business card, in case a bag tag becomes disconnected.

“While our baggage delivery rate is typically in the high 90th percentile, it does occasionally happen that bags are delayed, and in some cases, like this one, bags are not returned because the tags become disconnected during travel,” it reads. in the statement.

Rees says that even though her husband’s bag was returned to her and she was compensated by Air Canada, she believes the airline must be held accountable to prevent this from happening to other people.

“Be responsible. You are a great national airline,” he said.

“Their tickets are the most expensive. People buy and fly with Air Canada because we trust them. How can you trust them when, in my opinion, they are mistakenly donating luggage that they could clearly figure out whose it is.

Rees also says that airlines need to update their baggage policies to work with customers using AirTags.

“Airlines need to understand that AirTags are here for a reason; to help us find our lost property,” she says.

“They need to account for that and allow passengers to show proof of where it is and hopefully go get it themselves or have someone on their team retrieve it for them.”

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