Some Pearson Travellers Are Waiting Hours To Find Their Bags & Here's Why There Are Delays

Might be best to stick with a carry-on if you can!

Toronto Pearson Airport travellers waiting for their bags. Right: Rows of unclaimed suitcases.
Toronto Associate Editor

Toronto Pearson Airport travellers waiting for their bags. Right: Rows of unclaimed suitcases.

Anyone who's been travelling with checked luggage at Toronto Pearson Airport lately might know the struggle that comes with trying to get their bags back after their flights.

Narcity's Ashna Bharkhada went to the airport on June 30 to ask some fliers what their travel experience has been like, and one traveller trying to get to Montreal was waiting for hours to try and find their suitcase at Pearson.

"So, I'm trying to trace it, I can't leave the airport as well, so, that's one of the biggest frustrations I have right now with Air Canada because they don't know where my bag is," Pooja Rana shared with Narcity.

On June 30, Air Canada announced that it would be cancelling some of its flights this summer to combat the "unprecedented and unforeseen strains on all aspects of the global aviation system" and the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"So, if I wait until the next two to three hours, I'll be spending almost eight hours at the airport trying to find my baggage," Rana said.

After being told to come back in 45 minutes, Rana waited in line again to figure out what was happening with the luggage.

"Because I want to drive down to Montreal now, but I can't till I know where my bag is," Rana said. "I'm not local to Canada, this is my first trip to Canada, which is a real bad experience. I don't think I ever want to come again."

So why are there such major baggage delays?

Well, a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) explained to Narcity that there have been a few issues over the last several days that have caused some "challenges with baggage," which includes flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages with airlines, and temporary mechanical disruptions with the baggage system.

"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," Tori Gass from the GTAA said in a statement via email.

"Baggage handling, including removal from the aircraft, induction into the baggage system and the rate at which bags are loaded onto a baggage carousel is the responsibility of the airline and their contracted ground handling company. The baggage infrastructure and maintenance of the system is the responsibility of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority."

Meanwhile, Air Canada and WestJet recently told Narcity that the delays are not totally on them.

A spokesperson for Air Canada shared that in the cases that travellers don't get their bags, "there are many reasons for this, a lot of them outside the airlines' control."

The airline also stressed that "avoiding baggage delays is a top priority for us," and that it is "costly" for them to handle and deliver bags after the flight.

As for WestJet, they shared that they recognize there have been travel delays for fliers, including longer baggage wait times, and thanked everyone who flies with them for their "continued patience and understanding."

"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," a spokesperson for WestJet told Narcity via email.

On June 30, WestJet announced that they too will be scaling back their summer trips in order to make sure they can offer a "stable operation" for vacationers.

So, best of luck to anyone jetting off to their summer vacations, and maybe, just bring a carry-on with you instead.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor