Dear Air Canada, Call me…

August 11, 2017

in Luggage Stories

So I like to think of myself as a relatively easy going person, particularly when it comes to travel, with the general idea that it will all work out eventually and isn’t worth freaking out about. This has made dealing with student-affordable airfare a little easier. Air Canada has broken me of this mindset.

I was returning from a 6-month internship in Europe, and so I was traveling with two rather large suitcases that I needed to check. Already dealing with some hoopla with my original flights that had to be re-booked, I now found myself with flights back to the USA on Air Canada. I did not think much of it; I had heard of them before and thought that they were a reputable airline. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be the case.

The flights went by with relative ease; only a 2-hour delay for the last leg into Detroit. But honestly, at that point, I had been traveling for over 20 hours so it really didn’t make that much of a difference to me. The real crap only started when I found that neither of my bags had arrived. It was 1 am in the morning, I was exhausted, I smelled bad, and my bags were not there.

What would you do first when your bags don’t arrive? Go to the baggage claim desk right? Well, they didn’t have one. Nor was there anyone at the ticket counter. So who was I supposed to talk to about my missing bags at 1 am? Oh but all was not lost, they had a handy card with the baggage center call number on it which I called, only to listen to hold music for 30 minutes before I had to hang up and go home (come on it was 1:30 am).

The next morning was when I realized the horror of what the Air Canada baggage center call office was. It is a call center in India that you can only get ahold of after 40 minutes minimum of hold music. The maximum time we have been on hold so far has been an hour and a half. And while they have the ability to create your claim in the system (a function that Lufthansa lets you do online yourself), they do not have any other information.

As a baggage office, one would typically think the employees would have access to the Air Canada baggage tag data from the airports… or something like that… they are a baggage office. But no. They can read off of this “tracking” portal that you yourself have access to and that is about it.

I then went to the Detroit airport to speak with the Air Canada ticketing counter. After a bit of excessive typing, one of the more helpful staffers was able to tell me that my bags were scheduled to arrive the next morning at 10 am and that I would receive a phone call when it was out for delivery. Well yay! I thought that it had been frustrating, but at least it would be over soon. Yet again I was quite wrong.

The next day came and went and no phone call. I called the baggage office at DTW 27 times over the next 4 hours and not once did someone pick-up to answer whether or not my bags had arrived. So I went back to the airport. This time, not only did the kind yet unempowered staffers at the Air Canada station not have my bags, but they had less information than last time I came in! They couldn’t even find where the last girl had seen that my bags were scheduled to come in. And on top of that, they didn’t have anyone to call. They called the one phone number they had for the Toronto baggage office and apparently no one picked up.

I am a student; these two bags contain nearly all of my belongings. This isn’t just some vacation travel bag; I can’t just easily replace the contents. So now here I am, with only a handful of outfits to my name and even less information on the future of my bags. If you are considering Air Canada, please reconsider if you plan on checking any bags.

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