Sunday, November 17, 2019

5 Things I Learned from Losing my Luggage with Air Transat

This story expands on our summer holiday detailed here https://www.chromiloamin.com/2019/09/our-45-day-summer-vacation.html?m=1. I mentioned in that story that I flew out to Montreal the day before my wife's birthday end of July 2019. The flight was uneventful if not for my lost luggage with Air Transat. The feeling was that of frustration and disbelief as I waited along with other passengers at our specified baggage pickup carousel. We waited and waited until the next flight's luggage started filling that same carousel which gave me the sinking feeling that something was very wrong. Then an Air Transat Central Baggage staff started filling in our claim and were told to head on to our hotels while they locate my luggage. I stayed calm even though the staff spoke primarily French and we had issues communicating clearly. I had mixed feelings heading to Hotel Gouverneur Montreal downtown on bus 747 close to 11pm at night but what else could one do. It happens I said to myself and there is always a first.

For the next 24 hours I had to buy many necessities that were in my missing luggage like toiletries and change of clothes. I kept in constant communication and correspondence with Air Transat who has now set up a slick login to Central Baggage website so I can check on status. I talked to someone and they said that in these type of cases, the most likely reason is that the luggage never left the source airport. I found that strange because there were a few passengers I remember who had their luggage at the carousel that night. Maybe I just imagined it and was tired. Nevertheless, they were right and all Central Baggage staff had to do was wait for the next flight from Vancouver to Montreal to be able to get all the missed luggages back to get to their intended owners. It was a good thing I stayed at Hotel Gouverneur for 3 days so the Central Baggage staff was able to get it delivered on an airport shuttle bus directly to my hotel in the very early morning (around 2am or so) and was so relieved when it showed up. 

Everything with my luggage seemed intact except I discovered that the lock (which I didn't even use to lock my belongings) has been removed or has gone missing. Other than that I was fairly ecstatic to have all my things back and to continue on with my vacation. Previously I was told by Central Baggage staff over the phone that I was able to spend up to $50 per day until the luggage was found. I kept all my receipts and at the end of my trip, I sent all of the receipts totaling $127 to Central Baggage on August 13 by filling a claim here
https://www.airtransat.com/fr-CA/Travel-information/Baggage/Claims. There were no questions on the reimbursement claim and they graciously reimbursed me the amount after two months of waiting. I did try to get updates from Central Baggages directly during the two-month period but when I didn't hear back soon enough I resorted to Twitter sending direct-message to @airtransat  who said the only way to escalate was to call them directly at 1-800-388-5836. I didn't get a chance to call which was just as well because I received the cheque the day or two after this.

5 things I learned from losing my luggage:

1) Be empathetic and keep your cool. Do not take it out on the Air Transat Central Baggage claims staff or the airport carousel staff. It's not their fault your luggage was left behind.

2) Don't let a little hiccup ruin your vacation. Be positive and pray for the best. It usually works out in the end.

3) Don't expect reimbursements to happen quickly. They will get to you so patience is a virtue.

4) Don't keep anything valuable in your luggage. I was less stressed knowing I didn't have my car keys in my luggage as that was my only one , or that I didn't keep my passport and birth certificates there as well. If you can afford not to lock your luggage like I did, that is best situation to be in.

5) Make sure you can describe the make, model, and colour of your luggage. I didn't know these specifics as it wasn't mine and just borrowed from my brother. Knowing these things in advance helps lessen the stresss that you will be subjected to when there is a lineup to complete the claim forms requiring a description of the missing luggage.

Overall I was happy dealing with Air Transat. I would hope you never lose your luggage but if you do, you will hopefully know how to deal with it after reading this.

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