Windsor family still waiting for lost luggage 2 weeks after vacation

Moe Abdollahi and his wife and two sons returned to Canada from Iran on an Air Canada flight at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Aug. 15.

They discovered that two of their six bags were missing, and say that after a two-hour wait at the lost baggage claim, they were told they would be getting their bag in two days.

However, after numerous calls to the customer service lines over the past two weeks, Abdollahi says the family still has not received their bags and has no idea when they will be returned.

“The money is important, but I’m talking about the customer service,” said Abdollahi, a pizza place owner. “Nobody responds to us. Nobody says sorry. It means they don’t care.”

To make matters worse, Abdollahi says one bag contained a laptop worth about $1,500 as well as a $580 gaming console.

Abdollahi says his teenage son Amir needs the computer for school next week, so Abdollahi is faced with having to buy a new one.

“We call like 10 times a day. Just one time they answered the phone and then they said your luggage is going to come after four or five hours. Like, you know, this happened like three or four times. Now today is like two weeks still we didn’t get our luggage and then we don’t know what to do,” said Abdollahi’s wife, Kimia Pirmoradi.

Moe Abdollahi, right, stands with his family members, next to one of the bags lost on a recent trip on Air Canada. (Submitted by Kimia Pirmoradi)

Other items missing include clothes and souvenir items purchased in Iran while visiting family. Abdollahi estimates the value at around $3,000.

Industry expert John Gradek says incidents like these are all too common this summer and this delay in getting luggage returned is par for the course. He says since the family changed planes in Dublin, Ireland on the way back from Iran through Istanbul, the luggage is most certainly still in Dublin.

“There is a major problem in Dublin. Dublin’s baggage handling for connecting passengers has been troublesome all summer. There are just too many bags connecting at Dublin,” said Gradek, who is the academic co-ordinator of the aviation management program at McGill University .

“Dublin is very much an originating airport, not an airport that you have a lot of connections over, except for this summer where Turkish and Ryanair and EasyJet just put a lot of capacity into Dublin.”

Gradek suggests the family could file a claim with Air Canada for the monetary loss. He says there is also the Air Passenger Rights group that can help people like Abdollahi, but he expects it will take another week before the luggage is retrieved. However, he has heard of luggage taking two months to be returned from Dublin.

He suggests buying Apple AirTags for your luggage when traveling so you know where they are anywhere in the world.

CBC reached out to Air Canada about Abdollahi’s luggage, and was told the company deals directly with customers, but that the “file remains open.”

“Generally, we can also add that most customers do arrive with their luggage and avoiding luggage delays is a top priority for us. We know very well delays are disruptive and inconvenient for our customers,” the company said in an emailed statement.

In an Aug. 19 letter to Abdollahi obtained by CBC News, the airline has apologized for the delay, saying “due to the higher number of current requests, it may take as long as 45 days for an Air Canada representative to get back to you.”

However, the airline made a contradictory statement about baggage handling in an Aug. 17 news release on the company’s website that read: “During the week of June 27, mishandling rates per 1,000 customers were approximately 2.5 times the same number in 2019. As of the week of August 8, this rate has fully recovered to 2019 levels with a baggage handling success rate of 98 per cent.”

Abdollanhi said if he doesn’t get the luggage back he will put in a claim to get reimbursed for the loss.

Both he and his wife say they would not use the airline again after their experience, and would pay more money to fly with another airline.

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