From a mother with two children spending a night on the ground at Toronto’s Pearson Airport to two siblings forced to say goodbye to their dying father over the phone, flight cancellations and delays continue to cause distress to potential travelers across the country.
Airports are also reporting an increase in claims of lost or missing baggage, holding passengers up for hours.
“I was here for four and a half hours yesterday, only to be told my luggage is somewhere in the airport, but they don’t know where,” a passenger told CTV News at the airport on Wednesday. Pearson of Toronto.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority attributes the baggage chaos to flight delays, cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical disruptions to the baggage system. They say a Baggage Service Recovery Task Force has now been set up to review and resolve system failures.
As travel demand continues to increase globally with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, airports around the world will continue to face a “hot mess” of lost baggage and passenger frustration. , aviation consultant Robert Kokonis told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday.
“It’s a cascading series of events where a plane shows up, can’t get a gate, and has to wait on the tarmac for a few hours,” he said.
“(It’s going to cause) passenger delays, misconnections and baggage not reaching the travelers connecting flight. You’re going to have that plane which then gets delayed to its next destination.
Dozens of people have spoken out on social media about the loss of their luggage at Toronto’s Pearson airport, including a woman who said her bag was lost twice during her trip, leading to a “hunt frustrating treasure hunt that ultimately proved fruitless.
#Pearson airport today. Some suitcases have been there for 6 days. I lost luggage at destination and on the way back. At 2am they just sent us home and told us to email. #Air Canada pic.twitter.com/26TILoGYE6
—Ara (@happybug13) June 27, 2022
Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra called airport passenger problems “unacceptable” in an independent announcement on Wednesday.
“(Airports) know they need to add more resources, and they are working on it, and we are offering our support to resolve these issues. But these are unacceptable issues,” he said.
Kokonis says the main reason why luggage gets misplaced or misses connecting flights is because airports are understaffed.
Air Canada currently has 32,000 employees, down from about 33,000 before the pandemic, while operating about 80% of its June 2019 schedule, according to the company’s June release.
The company announced on Wednesday that it plans to reduce flights in July and August as the airline continues to face “customer service deficits”.
According to Kokonis, the reduction in passenger numbers is necessary to provide short-term relief until airport operations resume.
“The approximately 15% reduction in schedules announced by Air Canada will relieve some of that stress (on the workers) and ensure that we get that baggage with the passengers to the final destination,” Kokonis said.
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