Air travel: missing luggage causes more delays

From a mother with two children who spent a night on the floor of Toronto Pearson Airport to two siblings who were forced to say goodbye to their dying father over the phone, flight cancellations and delays still cause problems for potential travelers in the whole country.

Airports are also reporting increasing claims of lost or missing luggage, leaving passengers detained for hours at a time.

“I was here for four and a half hours yesterday, only to be told my luggage is somewhere at the airport, but they have no idea where,” a passenger told CTV News at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Wednesday.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority attributes baggage chaos to flight delays, cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical failures in the baggage system. They say a baggage recovery task force has now been set up to investigate and address system failures.

As global travel demand continues to rise as COVID-19 restrictions ease, airports around the world will continue to deal with a “hot mess” of lost luggage and passenger frustration, aviation consultant Robert Kokonis told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday.

“It’s all about a sequence of events where one plane turns up, can’t get a gate and has to wait a few hours on the tarmac,” he said.

“(This will lead to) delayed passengers, wrong connections and baggage that does not make it to the onward flight of the travelers. You get that plane that is then delayed to its next destination.”

Dozens of people have spoken out on social media about losing their luggage at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, including a woman who said her bag was lost twice during her trip, resulting in a frustrating “suitcase quest” that ended up fruitless. turned out to be.

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra called the problems with the airport’s passengers “unacceptable” in an unrelated announcement on Wednesday.

“(Airports) know they need to add more resources, and they are working on it, and we offer our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable problems,” he said.

Kokonis says the main reason why luggage gets lost or misses connecting flights is the ongoing shortage of staff at airports.

Air Canada currently has 32,000 employees, up from about 33,000 before the pandemic, while running about 80 percent of its June 2019 schedule, according to the company’s June release.

The company announced on Wednesday that it plans to reduce its flights in July and August as the airline continues to deal with “deficiencies in customer service”.

According to Kokonis, reducing passenger volume is necessary to provide short-term relief until airport operations are back on track.

“Air Canada’s announced schedule cut of about 15 percent will alleviate some of that stress (on the employees) and ensure that we match those bags with the passengers to the final destination,” Kokonis said.

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