Unchecked Carryon Lost on Baggage Drop Off Belt

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May 21, 2018
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#1
After going through customs inToronto on March 7, we took our through-checked baggage(15 min.walk)to the Connections drop off in Terminal 3 and accidentally put our unchecked carryon onto the belt.As we did this,4 agents sitting 15-20 ft away from us,never noticed the event and never bothered to check tags or assist us(we were the only ones in the room at the time so being busy was not an excuse).We immediately got one of the agents to radio the baggage handlers with the bag description and WestJet flight no.She however neglected to record any of this as well as pertinent info such as our names,phone #,address etc .for future reference in the case it was retrieved after we left the drop off area.
We assumed all was fine and left for our flight but upon arriving in Halifax -no carryon.We reported the lost carryon and then a baggage specialist was assigned as a courtesy claim.As yet,it has not appeared and were told we would not be able to file a claim which is secondary because the contents are more crucial as it contained electronics(brand new cell phone,mifi,ecigs), jewelry,gifts but most important,our Belize property deed.Because compensation isn’t involved I don’t think there was any investigation put into it such as the duty of care by the agents(before and after);being untagged and with lithium batteries was a physical search done;with our names and address on the deed why have we not been contacted and the probability that the carryon was stolen.
I am just amazed that with all the sophisticated technology being used in airports these days that this unfortunate accident happened since in this case , it depended on whether the agents felt like assisting us at that time(or not).The West Jet specialist informed me that the customer service agents in the drop off area were not obligated to provide customer service-you have to ask for it.So reassuring from the airline who claims it cares!In the past few years of traveling there was always some kind of check by scanning on the belt or a picture of your bags at customs or a CSA tag check.This seems to be a pretty archaic and non-secure system open to human error if there are zero checks.
I contacted both GTAA and CATSA to find out how the carryon was processed and to request CCTV surveillance records since the WestJet specialist said WestJet wasn’t responsible for the baggage handling and that CCTV was restricted because it was a secured area.She was wrong in both cases and by this time (a month later)the CCTV footage was erased.
The last 2 emails I sent to WestJet were not answered and the last conversation with the specialist ended with a blasé attitude of “Too bad,better luck next time.”Because the case will be closed in 2 weeks I wanted an expedited response so I sent an express letter to the WestJet CEO of Operations a week ago but haven’t heard a word.I have been encouraged to go through small claims court but I cannot get a proclamation from WestJet as to the obligations and duties of the agents in the baggage drop off area.
Ultimately I would like to see an effort put into locating the carryon or if Westjet is not willing to do that,then compensation.Would this trip(international to domestic)fall under the Montreal Convention as there is reference to unchecked baggage lost due to agents negligence?
 
Jan 30, 2018
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#2
I am sorry for your hassle. Was there identification on the outside of the carryon bag? I suspect they are denying responsibility because the bag was not properly labeled as hold luggage and it was your error in placing it on the conveyor belt.

I do not understand what this means: "As yet,it has not appeared and were told we would not be able to file a claim which is secondary because the contents are more crucial as it contained electronics(brand new cell phone,mifi,ecigs), jewelry,gifts but most important,our Belize property deed."
 
Likes: Neil Maley
May 21, 2018
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#3
I am not positive whether there was a name tag although all our other bags do.The deed however was in a large white (9”x12”)envelope with our names and address as well as our Belize lawyer’s which would have identified us.So we should have been contacted.
We admit we made a mistake but then what are 4 agents supposed to be doing at the baggage drop off-ignore passengers needs?Their job was to provide customer service;they certainly erred in that dept.We had been going for 14 hrs.by then and were very tired.My husband, who put the carryon on the belt,is 75 yrs old,has a heart condition and was somewhat unfocused at the time so assistance would have helped without having to ask.While he was doing that,I was putting the other 2 bags on the belt which I had to turn over because the wheels were the wrong way so I didn’t notice until it was too late.I just can’t believe there are no checks especially after hauling it through to the other end of the terminal-what’s the point of through-checked baggage?
The carryon is deemed lost and we aren’t allowed to file a claim for compensation with WestJet(according to The WJ specialist)because it was unchecked.I say compensation is secondary because it is more crucial to get back the deed so finding the carryon is paramount as I am concerned if this deed gets in the hands of some unscrupulous person.I am nevertheless upset that if it isn’t found,we have also lost about $800-1000 worth of contents.There doesn’t seem to be any concern that the carryon might have been stolen while in the care of WestJet.The attitude of the baggage dept.is so dismissive and irresponsible.We were immediately proactive in dealing with the mistake but it was all for nothing.The specialist refused to contact the agent who radioed the handlers to determine what happened.I have been trying relentlessly to find out if the agents in the drop off area are required to check tags.And what kind of investigation is done for lost baggage aside from Nettracer?I do not believe that that a carryon simply vanishing is OK.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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#4
I suggest you contact the lawyer in Belize to see what to do about the missing deed. Here in the US (at least in the states where I have purchased property), the deed you get after closing merely records the transfer. It is not like if you lose the document someone else can sell the property based on possession of the piece of paper. It is possible to go to the local municipal authority and get another copy.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I am not sure that small claims court would be helpful as this piece of carry on luggage was never officially in the custody of the airline.

I honestly do not see how you could get compensation on an unchecked bag. It has never officially been handed over to the airline.

If there was no tag, West jet would not know it was for them. What other airlines use Terminal 3?

Did the Toronto airport authority have any suggestions?

Have you thought about contacting Swissport which manages the baggage crew and other logistics.
 
May 21, 2018
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#6
I suggest you contact the lawyer in Belize to see what to do about the missing deed. Here in the US (at least in the states where I have purchased property), the deed you get after closing merely records the transfer. It is not like if you lose the document someone else can sell the property based on possession of the piece of paper. It is possible to go to the local municipal authority and get another copy.
Thank
I suggest you contact the lawyer in Belize to see what to do about the missing deed. Here in the US (at least in the states where I have purchased property), the deed you get after closing merely records the transfer. It is not like if you lose the document someone else can sell the property based on possession of the piece of paper. It is possible to go to the local municipal authority and get another copy.
Thank you for that advice.It does give me some relief.It’s just that some people have sold properties in Belize with no title and have scammed buyers.I will contact my lawyer immediately.
I was hoping however that someone with airline/airport expertise could shed some insight as to how baggage is handled when it is lost and what is the responsibility of the agents in drop off.
 
May 21, 2018
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#7
I am not sure that small claims court would be helpful as this piece of carry on luggage was never officially in the custody of the airline.

I honestly do not see how you could get compensation on an unchecked bag. It has never officially been handed over to the airline.

If there was no tag, West jet would not know it was for them. What other airlines use Terminal 3?

Did the Toronto airport authority have any suggestions?

Have you thought about contacting Swissport which manages the baggage crew and other logistics.
I was told by GTAA and CATSA that Westjet was in fact responsible for the baggage handling in drop off in Terminal 3.WestJet initially told me it was GTAA.The point is even our checked bags could have lost their tags enroute to the drop off area which is at the other end of the terminal.How did the agents even know whether it was through checked or if we were even in the right place?A 30 sec. check by the agents would have circumvented the mistake.I am wondering what is their responsibility in this area if not to do that.Our experience in other travels is that baggage is scanned on the belt and is rejected if the tag isn’t correct or in this case no tag.So if that technology isn’t in place then the agents should be checking.One does expect customer service from customer service agents.
I also contacted Swissport and they do not handle WestJet baggage and I cannot find out who does.When I requested CCTV footage from Westjet she told me it was illegal because it was a secured area but it is before security screening so that is false.By the time I contacted GTAA and CATSA,the CCTV footage was erased which would have given us some feedback as to how it was processed.
The problem is that once it went on that belt it did become WestJet property and I have no authority to question how it was lost,it seems.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#8
This is a nasty situation. My colleagues are correct ... get that Belize property deed replaced ASAP. I'll be very blunt with my opinion: you are blaming the airport agents for "not checking". That seems to be your over-riding message, and that is probably why you've had such little cooperation from the airline.

Our experience is that airlines are deluged with complaints all day long and people who blame someone else for their own mistakes are often ignored or dismissed. If you create a concise, chronological list of the facts without any emotion or blame, we should be able to guide you to the next step. The bag is somewhere, and it would be awfully nice for you to get it back. For that, you need the cooperation of the airline and the airport. I think we can help you.
 
May 21, 2018
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#9
I am simply trying to determine if the agents are required to check tags.Are they accountable?What are they(4 of them)supposed to be doing in the drop off room if not to assist passengers with baggage or is that an unreasonable assumption?
Yes I would appreciate it very much if you could assist me in retrieving my carryon.
How do you want me to proceed with this matter?
 
May 21, 2018
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#10
This is a nasty situation. My colleagues are correct ... get that Belize property deed replaced ASAP. I'll be very blunt with my opinion: you are blaming the airport agents for "not checking". That seems to be your over-riding message, and that is probably why you've had such little cooperation from the airline.

Our experience is that airlines are deluged with complaints all day long and people who blame someone else for their own mistakes are often ignored or dismissed. If you create a concise, chronological list of the facts without any emotion or blame, we should be able to guide you to the next step. The bag is somewhere, and it would be awfully nice for you to get it back. For that, you need the cooperation of the airline and the airport. I think we can help you.
Just realized I didn’t respond to you directly.I do acknowledge now that blame doesn’t get my carryon back-thanks for pointing that out.My emotions and frustration have gotten the better of me and has accomplished nothing.
I appreciate receiving guidance and feedback.What should I do next?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
I am simply trying to determine if the agents are required to check tags.Are they accountable?What are they(4 of them)supposed to be doing in the drop off room if not to assist passengers with baggage or is that an unreasonable assumption?
Yes I would appreciate it very much if you could assist me in retrieving my carryon.
How do you want me to proceed with this matter?
No they are not required to check tags. Why they are there may be a mystery. They may be there to answer questions -- but by the time you contacted them the bags went on the conveyor belt which is pretty fast. And I hate to say once you left the airport and went home the opportunity to get supervisors involved passed.

But lets say a giant 747 landed and there were 150 hundred people connecting -- and transferring baggage. They would need a large staff to check that every passenger did the right thing before putting the bag on the conveyor belt and if there was not a large staff then perhaps 50 people would miss their connection waiting for people to check the tags.

So it is self service, and one has to ask for help before if there was a question.

What has happened now in air travel is that it is so much self service -- I mean some airlines make the passenger print out the baggage tags and attach them. Once the bags get on the conveyor belt they quickly move and many of the scanners are overhead and there is no person initially checking them.

Not only is there the tag on the handle but there are the smaller flat tags that are attached to the bag to be read.

Here is a video on Vancouver airport YVR that shows that there is minimal human interaction at first.


Of course that is an official airport video so it puts the airport in the best light.

But what you see is how automated it is at first and how the bags get sent to an area with the baggage for a particular airline.

Now what happens as you said when the bag is not assigned to a particular airline (because of a lack of tag) -- honestly I do not know how it would go to West jet because the system would not send it to west jet piers -- again I do not know what other airlines take off Terminal 3 -- but isn't there Airtransat that also flies domestic from that terminal? My point is that there is no way to be certain that it ever got to West jet baggage handlers.

But the airport should have an idea as to where a tagless bag would go
 
May 21, 2018
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#13
No they are not required to check tags. Why they are there may be a mystery. They may be there to answer questions -- but by the time you contacted them the bags went on the conveyor belt which is pretty fast. And I hate to say once you left the airport and went home the opportunity to get supervisors involved passed.

But lets say a giant 747 landed and there were 150 hundred people connecting -- and transferring baggage. They would need a large staff to check that every passenger did the right thing before putting the bag on the conveyor belt and if there was not a large staff then perhaps 50 people would miss their connection waiting for people to check the tags.

So it is self service, and one has to ask for help before if there was a question.

What has happened now in air travel is that it is so much self service -- I mean some airlines make the passenger print out the baggage tags and attach them. Once the bags get on the conveyor belt they quickly move and many of the scanners are overhead and there is no person initially checking them.

Not only is there the tag on the handle but there are the smaller flat tags that are attached to the bag to be read.

Here is a video on Vancouver airport YVR that shows that there is minimal human interaction at first.


Of course that is an official airport video so it puts the airport in the best light.

But what you see is how automated it is at first and how the bags get sent to an area with the baggage for a particular airline.

Now what happens as you said when the bag is not assigned to a particular airline (because of a lack of tag) -- honestly I do not know how it would go to West jet because the system would not send it to west jet piers -- again I do not know what other airlines take off Terminal 3 -- but isn't there Airtransat that also flies domestic from that terminal? My point is that there is no way to be certain that it ever got to West jet baggage handlers.

But the airport should have an idea as to where a tagless bag would go
That video was quite informative.Judging from that,you would think then that the untagged carryon would have been removed immediately if there was nothing to scan.What happened at that point I do not know.But it seems that the CCTV would have determined what happened.I also asked CATSA what happens to an untagged bag containing restricted lithium batteries but didn’t get a reply.
After we put the carryon onto the belt,we did immediately(within a few minutes)inform one of the agents in the drop off room and she radioed the handlers.We stayed for a few more minutes and it seemed it was taken care of.We didn’t leave the terminal but went to our gate for our Halifax flight.With hindsight we should have stayed to make sure it was located before we left the baggage room and have our personal info recorded.At that time it would have been easier to have reconciled the bag than a day later.
I see your point about dealing with a large group of passengers.My experience with self service though is that there are scanning controls in place that reject baggage if the tags aren’t visible or the wheels are not in the proper position which the passenger has to rectify so I am surprised this isn’t implemented at the drop off belt.
I want to stress that in the 30+ yrs.I have been traveling around the world,my airline experience has been quite positive which is probably why this event has rattled me.
Thanks for your feedback.
 
May 21, 2018
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#14
The bag most likely never left the airport because it wasn’t tagged to go anywhere. Have you called the airport itself?
i did contact both GTAA and the lost and found dept by email .GTAA informed me that WestJet operates baggage handling in Terminal 3 and would inform the operations supervisor but have heard nothing back.I am still confused as to which entity is responsible for what.For every inquiry,it takes several days to receive an answer so my investigation is definitely a long drawn out affair.
I would also think the carryon never left the airport. Being untagged and containing lithium batteries,a physical search would have been prompted where our deed with our names on it would have identified us.Since we haven’t been contacted,there is the possibility of theft.
I was told the contents of unretrieved bags are donated to charity so perhaps when that occurs,we will be notified but that is wishful thinking.
Have any suggestions I could follow?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#15
I think you might try contacting WestJet using our company contacts and ask them to check their lost baggage area at the airport. You may have to escalate it to the executIves if custimer service won’t help but someone needs to get involved at the airport.

Did you have your own luggage tag on the bag with your name on it? If not- they most likely have no idea who’s bag it could be. It also could make it very easy for a dishonest employee behind the scenes to simply take an unmarked bag home with them or empty the contents.

http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/westjet-airlines/
 
Likes: Just A Guy
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
I think Westjet has a contract with Menzies for the baggage and ground handling, so not Swissport.

There is a lot of turnover at the airports, as these are minimum wage jobs that are physically difficult.

I do wonder what happens if a tag falls off.

Did the envelope have your address in Canada? Was there anything with a phone number?
 
May 21, 2018
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#17
I think you might try contacting WestJet using our company contacts and ask them to check their lost baggage area at the airport. You may have to escalate it to the executIves if custimer service won’t help but someone needs to get involved at the airport.

Did you have your own luggage tag on the bag with your name on it? If not- they most likely have no idea who’s bag it could be. It also could make it very easy for a dishonest employee behind the scenes to simply take an unmarked bag home with them or empty the contents.

http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/westjet-airlines/
I actually used your company contact and sent Cameron Kenyon(Operations)an express letter which was received last Tuesday but no reply.I was going to file a complaint with CTA but it can take 30 days so thought I might expedite matters by contacting a WestJet exec but was a waste of time and money($20).I can not get straight(or any) answers from anyone.
I checked the 7 pieces of luggage we have at home and all have name tags so I would think it did but not positive.The deed had our names and Cdn. address plus the name,address and phone # of our lawyer in Belize who would have been an additional contact.
The probability of it being stolen is quite high especially with brand new electronics in it.
I think CCTV surveillance footage would have been invaluable but the WestJet specialist said it was a restricted area(the baggage drop off is not)and could only be obtained for a claim.So I said maybe I should file a claim so I could get CCTV footage and she retorted with “That would be fraud” like I was some sort of criminal.I was informed that even though ours was a courtesy claim it would be treated in the same manner as a regular claim.If that’s the case,why could we not have access to CCTV surveillance.I would like to know how lost baggage is investigated especially if WestJet has to pay compensation.The only effort I can gather is that it was put on Nettracer.
 
May 21, 2018
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#18
I think Westjet has a contract with Menzies for the baggage and ground handling, so not Swissport.

There is a lot of turnover at the airports, as these are minimum wage jobs that are physically difficult.

I do wonder what happens if a tag falls off.

Did the envelope have your address in Canada? Was there anything with a phone number?
Do you think I should then contact Menzies?I have pretty well contacted every relevant dept.I can think of.I really can’t understand why it should be so complicated.I compare this incident to putting a pair of socks in the dryer and only one comes out.It has to be somewhere but you need to do a lot of searching.
As I told Neil Maley,the deed had our names and Cdn address and name,address and phone # of our Belize lawyer.
I also have been trying to find out how an untagged bag is processed.
I tried to communicate primarily with email so I would have a paper trail but since there are only 2 wks left when WestJet closes the case,I might have to start calling.
 
May 21, 2018
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#19
Just realized I didn’t respond to you directly.I do acknowledge now that blame doesn’t get my carryon back-thanks for pointing that out.My emotions and frustration have gotten the better of me and has accomplished nothing.
I appreciate receiving guidance and feedback.What should I do next?
This is a nasty situation. My colleagues are correct ... get that Belize property deed replaced ASAP. I'll be very blunt with my opinion: you are blaming the airport agents for "not checking". That seems to be your over-riding message, and that is probably why you've had such little cooperation from the airline.

Our experience is that airlines are deluged with complaints all day long and people who blame someone else for their own mistakes are often ignored or dismissed. If you create a concise, chronological list of the facts without any emotion or blame, we should be able to guide you to the next step. The bag is somewhere, and it would be awfully nice for you to get it back. For that, you need the cooperation of the airline and the airport. I think we can help you.
You mentioned that you think you can help.What are you able to do and what do I need to do?WestJet closes the case in 2 wks. so I need to be fast.
 
May 21, 2018
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#20
I think Westjet has a contract with Menzies for the baggage and ground handling, so not Swissport.

There is a lot of turnover at the airports, as these are minimum wage jobs that are physically difficult.

I do wonder what happens if a tag falls off.

Did the envelope have your address in Canada? Was there anything with a phone number?
I looked up Menzies website.The email contacts at Pearson seem to be invalid.

The Menzies Facebook page is not very encouraging or positive as far as customer satisfaction.If Menzies handled our carryon,the prospects of getting it back look grim.