Vancouver woman says YVR domestic terminal unsafe after bag stolen

Luggage stolen at YVR
WATCH: A B.C. businesswoman has a warning for other travelers after she lost all of her luggage to theft at Vancouver International Airport’s domestic terminal.

A Vancouver woman is refusing to check in her luggage for future business travel after her bag was stolen at Vancouver Airport’s (YVR) domestic terminal.

“I don’t think it’s safe. I don’t understand why the domestic area is not closed off,” Debbie Parhar said.

Back in January, Parhar had been traveling to Edmonton for business. On the way home to Vancouver, she caught an earlier Air Canada flight.  She was told by the airline, her bag would be on the next flight and would arrive at her home that night.

It never arrived.

Parhar says she went through an exhaustive process trying to track down her luggage. She eventually drove to the airport and spoke with an Air Canada baggage agent.

“He called YVR and lo and behold my bag hit carousel six at YVR,” Parhar said.

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Parhar contacted the RCMP. She says an officer reviewed surveillance video and confirmed her bag had been stolen.

“He witnessed two people with suspicious behaviour pick up what was described as my bag. A grey bag with a bright pink ribbon being hauled out by two people out the front door, up the elevator to the SkyTrain,” she said.

Richmond RCMP would not confirm the theft, but told Consumer Matters: “In 2017, there have been five recorded files of stolen luggage at YVR. Those reported instances may have occurred anywhere in the terminal or on the terminal grounds, and include the one file to which you refer.”

An Air Canada spokesperson stated: “We’re discussing with YVR who are responsible for the airport facilities, other agencies and stakeholders review of the domestic baggage carousel area access.”

But when Consumer Matters contacted  the Vancouver Airport Authority, we were told: “YVR meets all regulatory requirements around baggage and security, and at this time we do not have any specific plans to change the domestic baggage carousel.”

Air Canada eventually issued Debbie Parhar a cheque for $1,500. The airline’s maximum liability for loss, damage or delay for travel within Canada.

Travel experts say your best defence against baggage theft is to purchase baggage insurance.

“It covers you for loss, damage, or delay, including right up to the time you walk through your front door when your journey ends. In this case, baggage insurance would’ve come into play,” said Travel Best Bets’ Claire Newell.

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Newell also adds to get to the carousel as soon as possible and invest in a lock. She says bags with a visible lock are less likely to be taken.