An Air Canada customer is sharing his luggage nightmare after his bag arrived destroyed while in the airline’s care.
Ori Wolk said he submitted a claim, but the initial compensation he received from Air Canada fell far short of the total value of his damaged belongings.
“It just makes me feel that I’m not important, “said Wolk.
The Ottawa resident’s compensation battle with Air Canada started this past March when he flew business class with the airline to Israel following a death in the family.
On his return flight home from Montreal to Ottawa, Wolk says he was told by an Air Canada agent the plane to Ottawa had minimal storage capacity and recommended he check in his carry-on bag.
“I was so exhausted. I was happy to be in Canada, sure I will do it,” said Wolk.
However, when he landed in Ottawa, he was directed to the baggage claim area where he received his carry-on luggage in a plastic bag. Wolk says he was speechless. The carry-on bag and its contents were heavily damaged.
“Everything was shredded and soaked,” Wolk told Consumer Matters.
Some of those destroyed items included headphones, prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses and irreplaceable family photos and bank documents.
Wolk said he didn’t get much of an explanation from Air Canada. “They say it got caught in a conveyer belt,” he said.
When Wolk filed his claim and wrote Air Canada, he also outlined the value of his damaged items which were over $1,000. However, days later, Air Canada responded to Wolk stating after evaluating his claim an etransfer in the amount of $180 would be issued along with 15 per cent off his next flight as a goodwill gesture.
“They said this is our final response and do not reply to us anymore,” said Wolk.
President of the Air Passenger Rights advocacy group Gabor Lukacs said Wolk’s case is a clear violation of the law.
“While the airline was supposed to be guarding your bag, they failed to do so because it was damaged by the conveyer belt so they are liable up to about $2,300 CDN,” said Lukacs, adding, “the airline is liable for damage to checked baggage from the moment the baggage is handed over to the airline until you get back the baggage,” said Lukacs.
Wolk rejected Air Canada’s offer and turned to Consumer Matters for help. One day later, Wolk was contacted by Air Canada and received an apology and full compensation.
“I’m being compensated $1,190 plus they gave me a $300 voucher for my next trip,” said Wolk.
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“They literally closed my case, but thanks to Consumer Matters they reopened it,” Wolk added.
Air Canada stated to Consumer Matters: “We can confirm this passenger submitted a total claim for $180, which was fully paid and therefore considered resolved. Air Canada has since contacted the customer again.” – Air Canada Media
However, Wolk said he’s shocked by Air Canada’s response since he had submitted a claim outlining in detail all his damaged belongings and their value from the very beginning. “It’s kind of alarming in a way,” he said.
Lukacs added it’s very important passengers enforce their rights.
“Airlines feel they are untouchable, that nothing will happen to them if they break the law. That is the source of the problem,” said Lukacs.
He also suggests if passengers are being unfairly compensated by the airline to stand their ground.
“Don’t give up, don’t be a push over and don’t be afraid to assert your rights. Take them to small claims court,” said Lukacs.