- A WestJet passenger used an Apple AirTag to track her lost luggage, which ended up in Kingston, Jamaica instead of Winnipeg, Canada.
- The passenger had to rely on her own efforts, including contacting the airport in Jamaica, to retrieve her bag after WestJet initially denied responsibility.
- WestJet apologized for the mistake but offered compensation based on their maximum liability, leaving the passenger to consider filing a home insurance claim for the remaining cost.
Dealing with lost luggage is never ideal, but usually, passengers can recover their belongings in a reasonable amount of time. Most airlines are also at the ready to help assist in the search, but one WestJet passenger claims the only way she could get her belongings back was with the help of an Apple AirTag, a local news channel, and CA$4,000 ($2,915.30) of her own money. Here’s how a bag heading to Winnipeg ended up in Jamaica and how the situation was handled.
AirTag tracks bag that ended up in the Caribbean
According to reporting from Canadian broadcast network CityNews, an airline passenger named Lorraine Pedersen had a frustrating experience recently when her suitcase went missing after a WestJet domestic flight within Canada. She was scheduled to fly from Toronto to Winnipeg and had packed three weeks’ worth of items and clothing in her suitcase for a work trip.
Pedersen claims she had an Apple AirTag tracker inside her luggage, She states that when her bag did not arrive in Winnipeg, she discovered through her tracker that the bag was in Kingston, Jamaica.
AirTags are becoming an increasingly common way many airline passengers keep tabs on their checked luggage these days. A similar incident occurred when a few bags from Air Canada passengers ended up in Madrid, despite their original flight itinerary between Mexico City and Vancouver. The passengers placed AirTags in their luggage and were able to track their mistaken destination as soon as they’d landed.
“[The] bag tag clearly shows that it is going from Toronto to Winnipeg on a WestJet flight,” Pedersen said in her interview segement with CityNews. “I had to call Kingston airport Kingston Jamaica airport and discover that it went in on a Swoop (WS) flight.”
She claims her bag sat at the Caribbean-based airport for nearly two weeks, based on her AirTag information. Pedersen reached out to the airline for assistance retrieving the bag but says that, despite having tracking that showed her bag winding up in Jamaica, WestJet initially denied responsibility. She also claims that the airline told her it was impossible for her bag to be in Jamaica because WestJet had no flights from Toronto to Jamaica that day.
The disgruntled traveler feels that the luggage and/or flight mixup is “WestJet’s fault” because her bag “was left in their possession, according to her bag tag information.
Passenger persistence pays off…sort of
Not willing to give up, Pedersen took matters into her own hands. She contacted the airport in Kingston directly and learned her bag had arrived in Jamaica on a flight with Swoop airlines.
Simple Flying reported back in June that WestJet decided to dissolve the low-cost Swoop brand. According to a statement from the airline, Swoop was set to “operate its existing network through to the end of its published schedule on October 28” and that Swoop employees would move to WestJet.
It’s unclear if Pedersen’s WestJet flight was scheduled within this time period and if the company’s transition had any impact on her experience. Simple Flying has reached out to WestJet for comment, and we will update the article with any response.
Frustrated with WestJet’s customer service, Pedersen contacted CityNews Toronto for help. Within 24 hours of the news station’s inquiry, WestJet contacted Pedersen and arranged to return her bag from Jamaica to Toronto.
Is WestJet responsible for reimbursement?
Unfortunately, Pedersen claims that when she finally received her bag back, it had been damaged, and items had been stolen. She told CityNews that the value of the missing items plus replacement purchases cost her CA$4,000.
There are ways to receive reimbursement for lost or damaged luggage, but policies vary from airline to airline, and even a country’s transportation laws can come into play. According to regulations from the Canadian Transportation Agency, airlines are only liable for approximately CA$2,350 ($1,712.71) for lost or damaged bags.
CityNews reports that the airline apologized for the mistake and included a statement from WestJet spokesperson Julia Kaiser about their involvement:
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience Ms. Pedersen experienced while traveling with WestJet. Under the terms of our Tariffs and Conditions, the guest has been offered the maximum liability for the baggage on the date of the settlement.
Unfortunately, the bag was loaded in error and situations like this are extremely rare. WestJet is committed to doing its best to deliver baggage on time and understands the inconvenience of having a bag misplaced or damaged.”
It’s left to be said whether Pedersen will see the remaining amount of the money she spent. According to CityNews, WestJet advised filling out a home insurance claim “in any case where the loss exceeds its maximum liability.”
Source: CityNews Toronto
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.