An Ontario couple waited more than three months to be reunited with their lost luggage, only to find out that it had already been donated to an Etobicoke charity by Air Canada (TSX: AC).
Nikita Rees-Wilson and her husband learned that one of their suitcases didn’t arrive with them to Toronto on their trip back from Montreal in September. Luckily, Rees-Wilson left an Apple AirTag inside the missing luggage so they were able to track its journey. The luggage is said to have stayed in Montreal for a month before it was finally transported to a storage facility in Etobicoke, where it sat for the last three months.
Rees-Wilson, who was understandably frustrated, especially because Air Canada hadn’t been able to help them get their luggage, reported the incident to Toronto Police. The police searched the Etobicoke facility and found that a charity organization had “lawfully” received the luggage from Air Canada after it wasn’t claimed.
“What gives Air Canada the right to donate that luggage? I would say they don’t have it, they don’t have it contractually, and certainly, they don’t have it under the criminal law,” Marcus Bornfreund, a Toronto-based criminal defense lawyer, told CTV News Toronto.
“In fact, it could be a criminal offense in the sense that the theft or the unlawful possession of another person’s property is a criminal law matter.”
Air Canada, in a statement emailed to the news outlet, said that luggage whose ownership cannot be determined after 90 days will be disposed of, which is “something we do through a third-party company, which does make donations to charity,” they wrote.
They said that Rees-Wilson’s baggage tag had unfortunately been “disconnected” from the bag, making it “not possible for us to identify the bag’s owner, it was designated as unclaimed, and we moved to compensate the customer.” The airline adheres to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) policy of compensating customers whose bags cannot be located after 21 days.
The problem was, thanks to the AirTag, the couple knew where their luggage was and just lacked the coordination necessary from the airline to be able to retrieve it. As of this writing, the couple has been reunited with their bag with the Toronto Police’s help, and Air Canada has apologized for the delay and blamed it on how the couple traveled at a time when Air Canada was catching up with pandemic-related disruptions.
Rees-Wilson told Global News that she’s still considering taking legal action.
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