Luggage Is Getting Lost & Delayed At Canadian Airports & Here's What Travellers Need To Know

Photos and videos shared online show the chaos at airports' baggage claims.👇

Unclaimed luggage inside an airport. Right: Luggage abandoned on an airport runway.
Senior Editor

Unclaimed luggage inside an airport. Right: Luggage abandoned on an airport runway.

Pack light, travellers! Passengers' luggage keeps getting lost and delayed at Canadian airports and people are sharing photos and videos of the chaotic scenes at baggage carousels.

According to a report from CBC News, missing baggage is the latest problem to plague major airports in Canada, following weeks of flight cancellations, delays at security checkpoints and long lineups.

Some passengers have complained of week-long waits for luggage to arrive at their destination, while others say their bags never arrived at all.

Videos shared online show chaotic scenes at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson and more, with piles and piles of lost and unclaimed luggage.

Challenges with baggage

In an email to Narcity, a spokesperson for Toronto Pearson confirmed there had been recent "challenges with baggage" at the airport. They said flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical disruptions have contributed to the issues.

"We have worked with the airlines to ensure unclaimed bags are removed from the carousels and staged in the baggage hall to make room for bags from other flights," the statement read.

"Airlines have responsibility for reuniting passengers with their luggage, so for more information on this process."

Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport told Narcity that "there is indeed a significant amount of luggage at YUL at the arrivals level."

A spokesperson said that baggage delivery is the responsibility of the airlines, with the carriers' ground crew expected to unload the aircraft and transfer the bags onto the carousels.

A similar statement was shared by a Vancouver Airport spokesperson, who told Narcity that they are also experiencing baggage delays.

"We are working with our airline partners in an effort to provide support as baggage processing is the airline’s responsibility," the message read.

"A myriad of challenges"

Airlines, on the other hand, say the issues are not just down to them.

WestJet said it recognizes "there have been delays for travellers across the travel journey, including baggage wait times," and thanked passengers for their patience.

"Across our network, we are working alongside our third-party service providers to alleviate baggage delays and have invested in additional WestJet oversight to support our providers responsible for actioning and delivering our baggage services in a timely manner," a spokesperson told Narcity.

"The baggage delays we are seeing are largely a result of a myriad of challenges that include flight delays and cancellations, resource constraints and ground operations."

Air Canada said dealing with luggage delays is a "top priority" for the airline, acknowledging that missing suitcases are "disruptive and inconvenient for our customers."

A spokesperson added, "Bear in mind too that each delayed bag is costly for us to handle and deliver post-flight, so we are doubly incentivized to have bags arrive with the customers."

Air Canada says the reasons bags get delayed or lost are often "outside the airlines' control," and pointed to the recent issues at airports as a factor.

Following months of backlogs, delays and cancellations at airports across Canada — largely related to COVID-19 and subsequent public health measures — the federal government has stepped in to improve processes.

On June 10, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the actions that have already been put into place, including the relaxing of some travel restrictions, are beginning to have a positive impact.

That said, if you are travelling soon, perhaps consider taking hand luggage only, eh?

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.