Buckle in folks, I’m about to rant.
Our story begins near the end of my Rigolet adventure with Oliver. We were on our last flight home – Halifax to Toronto – and I commented to him how he was my good luck charm because I’d managed almost 6 flights without delays, lost luggage, turbulence, or any other issues that are often connected with air travel. But of course, I guess I spoke too soon.
On arrival to Pearson we made our way to collect our luggage. It wasn’t long before we spotted Oliver’s bag, but mine was AWOL. I looked at Oliver and he reassured me that my bag would arrive. I somehow knew it wouldn’t. My luck with checked luggage is beyond terrible. My rough estimate is that approximately 70% of the time (likely more) that I check luggage it ends up missing. This isn’t always an Air Canada issue. It’s just my luck.
Because this has happened more often than not, I sauntered over to the Air Canada counter to report my luggage lost. The attendants, of course, insisted that it was not lost, just “delayed”. The pair of attendants punched my details into their system and told me that my luggage hadn’t left Halifax. That is, it wasn’t lost, just “delayed”. Attendant Number 1 collected my details while the other informed me that “Halifax is always a problem, but they’d say the same thing about us”, and that “professionalism was lost”. Because that’s the type of shit I want to hear when I’m already annoyed. Regardless, they quickly processed my info, and Oliver and I were on our way. I assumed incorrectly that since they knew my bags were in Halifax that they’d be returned to me post-haste.
That was over 5 days ago.
Today when I checked their website I learned that since my luggage has been “delayed” for 5 days, I need to fill out a baggage claim form. This is so that my “delayed” luggage can be handled by their crack team of un-delaying-baggage experts in the Central Baggage Office. But perhaps I’m being a bit of an insensitive dick. I’ve not dealt with this team, so I shouldn’t assume that they’re as “good” as the rest of the team that’s been “searching” for my luggage. I really should give them the benefit of the doubt. And with that thought in mind, I proceeded to download the baggage claim form (available here).
And then I read the form, and perhaps blacked out after experiencing red-hot stupidity-fueled rage. If you haven’t buckled up yet, you probably should because this is about to get stupid. To expedite the process of un-delaying my luggage, I need to:
- Submit photo ID with my baggage claim form. Fine. This makes a bit of sense, I guess. They probably don’t want a bunch of random people filling out forms to claim lost luggage – because people do that in their spare time, right? Maybe I’m just unaware of the criminal underground that makes false baggage claims using other people’s ID.
- Submit my flight stubs and baggage claim tickets. This is where things get awkward. I’ve already submitted these things to the expense department in order to process expense claims from the research trip in Rigolet. That is, I don’t have them. Until I do, I guess that the crack team of un-delaying-baggage experts can’t do anything for me? Because apparently my photo ID isn’t enough for them to cross-reference with their passenger manifest? Because they don’t know I was already on the flight?
- Submit a list of all of the things in my “delayed” luggage. That seems reasonable to me, despite the fact that I don’t normally inventory the contents of my bags in great detail when packing. Did I have 5 or 6 pairs of wooly hiking socks? Did I pack exactly 9 pairs of underwear, or did I pack extra just in case? What about t-shirts? Oh, and I probably shouldn’t forget the fact that the bag itself is missing too.
- Submit receipts for all items in the “delayed” luggage. WTF? Seriously – what the eff? Who the hell has receipts around for everything in their luggage? The only receipt I likely have would be for souvenirs I picked up while in Rigolet, but hey, guess what, those are actually in my “delayed” luggage.
- Mail – yes snail mail – all of my receipts and tickets and filled out form to Air Canada Baggage Claims. Because apparently doing this online isn’t possible. Because apparently they want to make this process as painful as possible for people who are already annoyed. Perhaps the more painful, the more likely it is people won’t make claims.
Of course, all of this had me slightly annoyed. No. Wait. Not slightly. Extremely. So I opted to write a formal complaint to Air Canada through their lovely online interface. After drafting up a glorious letter – basically detailing all of the info about my trip that I’ve just written here – and whilst in the process of reading it aloud to ensure it read well, the website informed me that my “session has expired”. And with that, my beautifully scripted complaint was lost. Because apparently Air Canada wants to make this even more painful an experience than it already is. Well played Air Canada, well played indeed.
Look, Air Canada – I don’t want to be mad at you. I love to travel, and in many cases you’ve been awesome at getting me from point A to point B. You’ve done an excellent job of making sure the plane I’m in arrives at its destination mostly on time and always in one piece. And while some of the flight delays I’ve experienced have been frustrating (e.g. remember that time I had to sit in the plane for too many hours because of mechanical issues without so much as an offer of water), I recognize they are for my safety. Truly, your safety record is fantastic, and I approve of my surviving every one of your flights to date. But despite all of this, I have to say your handling of my “delayed” luggage has been shite. Could we please call a spade a spade and refer to it as “lost” because clearly you have no idea where it is? Could we also recognize the extreme stupidity of asking me for receipts for all items in my bag that I’m going to claim? And could we please, for the love of all things holy, make this process seem less like you assume I’m trying to screw you over by making a false claim?
I was on the flight. You lost my luggage. It’s really that simple. The solution should be too.