A Canadian couple has been left gobsmacked after discovering their missing luggage – which they had been able to track using Airtags – had seemingly been donated to a charity by the airline.
Nikita Rees-Wilson and her husband spent their honeymoon in Greece, but when they landed back in Toronto, Air Canada lost their suitcases.
Sharing the entire ordeal on TikTok, Rees-Wilson said they filed a lost baggage report, but had thankfully also placed a tracking device in the bags, which she said “laid bare the scheme” that eventually saw the police get involved to help retrieve the bags.
In one of a series of videos, Rees-Wilson explained the bags initially spent a month sitting in a warehouse near Montreal Airport, before they eventually made their way, by road, to Toronto.
“We got really excited because we’re like ‘Oh it’s coming back to Toronto, it’s going to go to a processing facility, this is awesome’,” she said
However, the bags remained at their new location for three months. They called Air Canada countless times but did not get help retrieving their bags, which is when they got the police involved.
“No movement, no word from Air Canada, they compensated us for maybe a quarter of the value of the items. But we noticed it was still at this storage facility, so what do we do, we go to the storage facility,” she said.
“What do we find? Floor to ceiling, wall to wall luggage.”
Officers were able to get a warrant to search the storage facility, and they were told the suitcases had been donated to charity as it “hadn’t been claimed”.
In a statement to Global NewsToronto police said the charity organization was “contracted by the airline carrier” and had “lawfully obtained the luggage from the airline” after it was not claimed.
But online, Rees-Wilson slammed the entire incident as “criminal”.
“Air Canada wrongfully donated my luggage after less than 30 days to a charity WITHOUT my knowledge of consent. You do not own this property and therefore cannot donate it,” she said.
“Even though we were tracking our luggage for the last four months, it was never actually ‘lost’ because we knew where it was the entire time.”
On Tuesday, months after their trip, the luggage was finally returned to the couple, with Rees-Wilson and her husband sharing a further update on TikTok.
“Within 24 hours they found it even though they couldn’t find it in four months before. They just said they found it in a warehouse,” he said.
In a statement Air Canada said during the couple’s holiday they had been experiencing “an elevated rate of baggage delay” due to a variety of issues.
“In this particular case, the situation was compounded by the disconnection of the baggage tag at some point on the journey. Despite our best efforts, it was not possible for us to identify the bag’s owner. It was designated as unclaimed, and we moved to compensate the customer,” the statement read.
“Bags whose ownership cannot be determined can be disposed of after 90 days, which we do through a third-party company, which does make donations to charity.”
READ MORE: What to do if your luggage goes missing
But online, Rees-Wilson argued the airline “made zero effort to connect them to their luggage”.
“So why now that we are called a high-profile case, because we brought the story to the media, did it only take them 24-48 hours to find it in a warehouse. But they weren’t able to find it before, even though we told them exactly where it was.”
Her followers were equally shocked by the turn of events with one person commenting, “These videos compelled me to buy AirTags for our upcoming vacation.”
Meanwhile, experts have also weighed in on the issue, with one passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs telling Global News it was “the most egregious baggage-related issue I’ve seen in my 15 years of being a passengers’ rights advocate”.
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