Lost luggage mars holiday travel for visitors to Jamaica
WESTERN BUREAU: Days after arriving in Jamaica, hundreds of West Jet and Air Canada Rouge passengers who boarded their flights at the Pearson International Airport, Toronto, are yet to receive their checked luggage and/or any type of communication...
Days after arriving in Jamaica, hundreds of West Jet and Air Canada Rouge passengers who boarded their flights at the Pearson International Airport, Toronto, are yet to receive their checked luggage and/or any type of communication from the airlines.
Some will return to Canada without getting their bags, having gone four days into their vacation without the clothing, toiletries, and gifts they packed for their Jamaican relatives, they have told The Gleaner.
“I was scheduled to depart the island Tuesday, but changed by flight to [Wednesday], because I thought by then, I would get some information on the two pieces I checked on Air Canada Rouge,” said Winston Cowie, who arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston last Friday.
According to Cowie, more than half of the people on the aircraft did not get their bags, and although he completed a lost luggage form with his contact details, no one from Air Canada has called to advise him of any updates.
On Tuesday, when he went to NMIA to make queries, he was told the bags had arrived at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and that the possibility exists that they would be sent to Kingston via road. However, if that works out, Cowie would have already left the island.
“I am very disappointed and dissatisfied with how this situation has been handled. I don’t think I wanna travel with them. I had to spend money to purchase clothes, and it is a good thing I had some stuff in my carry-on,” he added.
The NMIA passengers are not alone in their sorrows. Several passengers on West Jet into the Sangster International Airport are yet to locate a representative of the airline since arriving on the island and losing their bags.
Sonia Khoury said she arrived at Sangster last Saturday, and while in the airport awaiting her luggage, she realised that only about 60 bags came off the belt, while there were roughly 180 passengers on the aircraft.
“The flight was full and the two agents at the airport were overwhelmed, so it took us hours to file the lost-baggage forms because they ran out of them and had to go photocopy more,” explained Khoury, who said the turn of events after leaving the airport was what affected her most.
Efforts to get answers about when to expect her bag proved futile, as the 1866 number for the airline went to voicemail.
“The recording said that ‘due to extreme cold, they had difficulties with the luggage belt system, causing the delay. We ask that you be patient, as we are working diligently’, but there is zero time frame on when we should get our bags,” lamented Khoury, who had not been to Jamaica in seven years.
She has been forced to purchase clothing and a number of items to the tune of US$300, she stated, noting that she left Canada to enjoy the sun, sand and sea, but did not even have a bathing suit now.
Like sections of the United States, Canada is being impacted by a severe winter storm, which has disrupted operations at several airports.
Other carriers affected include Icelander and Sun Wing.
“I understand that these things are likely to happen, but how do you desert your passengers when they get to their destination?” asked Khoury, noting that several passengers on her flight had young children.
Khoury said she is aware of two flights that came in from Canada on Monday and one on Tuesday, yet no one has made contact. She is convinced that she will leave the island on Saturday without getting her luggage.
Statistics have shown that Air Canada Rogue has had 48.5 per cent delays throughout the year, with each of their flights delayed more than an hour.
The Gleaner was unable to reach representatives of the airlines for comment.