A frustrated flier with ultra low-cost carrier Lynx Air is scrambling to understand how her bag ended up in a different province and why the airline wouldn’t do anything about it.
Andrea Habermeyer and husband Sean Barber checked in at the Lynx counter in St. John’s, Newfoundland back on Aug. 7. Habermeyer said everything went smoothly until she noticed her baggage tag.
“We went through security and noticed on the back of the boarding pass that the baggage sticker was for a different airline and a different person,” she told Global News. “Hamilton, Ont was the destination.”
Habermeyer said she quickly alerted the gate staff, who was the same person who had checked them in. She said they were assured it would be corrected.
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“He assured me he had retagged the bag and it was going to be in Calgary and everything was going to be fine. He couldn’t print me a new tag because the printer at the gate was apparently out of printer paper.”
The couple boarded and waited for their bag in Calgary.
“No bag. No bag. Not at all.”
“I’ve called almost every day for the last four weeks,” she said. “And I can’t get anywhere.”
Then out of the blue, the couple received a phone call from their pharmacy, London Drugs.
“It’s a very Canadian story,” she said. “My husband gets a call from London drugs one night who says, ‘I have the number of the people in Guelph, Ontario who have your suitcase!’ It was delivered by taxi to their house and she opened it up and went through and found his prescriptions, called London Drugs and they called us!”
With this information now on hand, Habermeyer contacted Lynx once again, to let it know the suitcase was in Guelph and could the airline return it to them.
“Their response was since the bag had been returned to us — by a different carrier — we were no longer able to submit a claim,” she said incredulously. “It took two weeks to explain that I don’t have the bag. It’s still in Ontario. At a stranger’s house.”
Global News also reached out to Lynx after hearing the couple’s story.
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In a statement we were told: “We deeply apologize for the inconvenience this passenger has experienced, and we are working with the traveller directly. This type of occurrence is extremely rare and we are taking steps to investigate what happened and working to reduce any risk of it happening again.”
Lynx added it wants to make sure travellers “feel heard and taken care of when they fly with Lynx.”
Habermeyer said in no way did they feel listened to or taken care of, even when they mentioned her husband’s CPAP machine was in the bag.
“He has sleep apnea and he actually hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since August 7,” she said. “If he stopped snoring at night — I worried he had stopped breathing. “
Because of the emergency, the couple hasn’t waited for Lynx to resolve the situation. Barber found out a senior leader at his company lived just minutes away from where the bag location in Guelph. He has now arranged for the suitcase to be couriered to the couple — at their cost.
“Almost as much as the tickets,” Habermeyer said it was going to cost. “Probably going to be about $350-$400.”
After Global News contacted Lynx, we have been told it has now contacted Habermeyer and to offer “some” compensation.
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Air travel complaints soar in Canada
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has seen air travel complaints soar in the last five years.
According to the CTA 42,068 complaints have been filed so far in 2022-23. That is up more than 500 per cent from the 7,650 complaints in 2018-2019. In 2022-23, the Agency processed 11,158 air travel complaints. The processing time for an air travel complaint is currently about 18 months.
The CTA added it is in the midst of major initiatives to strengthen air passenger protection, including changing how it processes air travel complaints. The changes are expected to result in a simpler, clearer, faster and more cost-effective process.
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