When Michelle Linklater didn’t hear from WestJet about her lost package, she drove 10 hours from her family’s home in Esteban, Sask to Calgary International Airport to get an answer.
She arrived on Monday and was not surprised that the airline had yet to find her lost luggage.
But she was furious when she learned from WestJet staff that the airline was donating unclaimed baggage to a local charity after 90 days.
“It’s not just about finding my overturned suitcase. It’s about what they do to identify people’s belongings,” said Linklater, who lives in Saskatoon. .
“This is outrageous that WestJet has such a policy.”
Her luggage went missing on December 2nd when she and her daughter flew from Saskatoon to Cancun connecting in Calgary.
She wants to let other travelers know that if their lost baggage is properly tagged and not found within 90 days, they can donate their belongings.
WestJet did not tell Linklater or CBC News which charity the bag was being donated to.
“When you have a large amount, when you’re in a crisis like that, maybe 90 days isn’t enough time to wash your hands and give them to someone. [else],” she said.
This comes a week after CBC News reported on the Ontario couple. fought with air canada 4 months to get my luggage back after the airline said they donated it to charity.
In Linklater’s case, WestJet agreed to issue $2,325 in compensation for her lost package.
She says her fight isn’t about money.
“They should have an answer on how to fix this in the future,” she said. We are doing this to help.”
Linklater said WestJet should improve its baggage handling system to avoid lost bags and extend its 90-day policy to at least 120 days. Airlines could also consider forming organizations to assist during catastrophes similar to those seen during the holidays, she said.
WestJet donates baggage in ‘rare circumstances’
According to an emailed statement from WestJet, there are rare circumstances in which airlines donate lost bags to charity.
“However, we will not donate any bag that fits the description of a lost bag with an open claim,” the statement read.
Unclaimed baggage will be sent to the airline’s Central Baggage Services team in Calgary for investigation and identification of the owner.
“For any baggage that has not been claimed for 90 days, the item will be donated or disposed of. Where possible, our agents will add the contents to the bag file to best assist the identification process. Lost Baggage will not be sold or auctioned.”
The Calgary-based airline said most of the baggage delayed over the holidays was returned to passengers. In a statement, the airline apologized to travelers whose bags had not been returned.
Linklater said he was waiting to speak to CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech at WestJet headquarters Monday afternoon, but staff couldn’t arrange a meeting.
In the meantime, Linklater said he plans to remain in Calgary and continue discussions with WestJet officials about policy changes.