Caught Up in Flight & Lost Luggage Limbo

January 6, 2016

in Odds & Ends Stories

I had an Air Canada ticket for December 29, 2014 from Zürich, Switzerland to Vancouver via London, and a connecting flight the same evening to Prince George. My baggage was checked in to Prince George before departure in Zürich, where I received my boarding pass for London but not for Vancouver – obviously the flight from London to Vancouver was overbooked.

I was told to go to the Air Canada check-in counter upon arrival in London. I was there 55 minutes before the scheduled departure of the flight. There an Air Canada employee told me the gate had already closed because the plane was full. She refused to offer me any help to find another connection to Vancouver.

The ground staff of SWISS finally helped and booked me on British to New York and Cathay Pacific to Vancouver. By the time I arrived there around midnight there were no more flights to Prince George. All the Air Canada ground staff had already left. When calling the official Air Canada number at the airport in Vancouver, an answering machine told me its storage capacity was used up and I should call the next day! I spent the rest of the night trying to sleep on a bench in the airport terminal.

The next morning I was generously accepted on the first Air Canada flight to Prince George. The people who had driven to Prince George the preceding day to pick me up had gone home after I hadn’t shown up, so I had to rent a car to get to my final destination in Quesnel.

My baggage was lost; nobody had any idea where it was. I filled out a form and was promised a phone call within a day. Nothing happened, so I phoned the so-called Central Baggage Customer Care Centre (some office in India!) the next day. They had no information about where the baggage was, but promised again to call me before the evening, which they did not. Same procedure the next day – same results.

On the baggage tracer site on Air Canada’s website, I saw that someone had sent my baggage to Comox, while the Baggage Customer Care Centre people said it was on a Central Mountain Air flight to Quesnel. I called Central Mountain Air and was told there were no flights to Quesnel these days.

After several days and dozens of phone calls, I located the baggage myself and organized its transport to my destination. I finally got them two days before flying home. Air Canada refused to accept any responsibility and I received no compensation for all my extra expenses.

My worst air travel experience in almost fifty years!

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