Claim Air Passengers Owed For Lost & Delayed Luggage

Federal regulators are investigating complaints a Canadian airline allegedly withheld millions in compensation owed passengers for lost and late luggage. The Canadian Transportation Agency has given Porter Airlines Inc. till September 3 to answer allegations it misled passengers on payments they could rightfully claim for misplaced bags.

Porter Inc. denied the claims in a statement to Blacklock’s. The complaints were filed by Dr. Gábor Lukács, a Halifax-based passenger rights advocate who presented the Agency with transcriptions of tape recordings with Porter agents.

In his submission, Lukács noted Porter was obliged to reimburse passengers for expenses up to $1,800 over lost or delayed luggage following a 2013 order by the Transportation Agency. Porter advised travellers they were entitled only to $25 coupons on future flights, according to Lukács’ records including voice recordings of conversations with Porter staff:

  • Lukács: “You are telling me that the policy of Porter has been just to compensate for this $25 voucher per 24 hours?”
  • Agent: “It has been like that for seven years.”
  • Lukács: “For seven years? Are you sure there is no other compensation for baggage delay?”
  • Agent: “I am absolutely positive.”
  • Lukács: “Are you sure there is no other compensation for baggage delay?
  • Agent: “I am absolutely positive.”

“Porter Airlines shortchanged passengers,” Lukács wrote regulators, noting the $25 a day redemptions were offered to domestic and international travellers aboard Porter flights: “Porter Airlines has been unjustly enriched at the expense of the traveling public by a substantial amount,” Lukács wrote.

Porter said in a statement it has always offered clients compensation they are owed. “Our baggage claims department has consistently applied our policy since it was updated in 2013,” the airline said. “We continue to reimburse reasonable expenses for passengers if they have issues related to baggage delays. At this point in time this is all the information we are able to provide.”

In phone calls and emails submitted as evidence to regulators, Porter agents repeatedly denied clients were entitled to compensation for expenses from lost luggage. “Beyond the delayed voucher of $25 per twenty-four hour period they don’t issue any kind of compensation,” one agent is quoted. “Our general policy is that we don’t actually issue any kind of compensation for those kinds of costs incurred, unfortunately,” said another, who advised Lukács to fill out a complaint form.

Lukács cited industry documents calculating North American airlines on average misplace luggage at the rate of 3 per 1,000 bags, and noted Porter claims to carry 2.5 million passengers a year – the equivalent of up to $9 million in maximum reimbursements, Lukács calculated. He asked regulators to cite Porter for misleading information, and compel the airline to reimburse all passengers since 2013 who were entitled to compensation for misplaced bags.

Lukács earlier won a Federal Court order that the Transportation Agency disclose all documents it cites in regulatory decisions similar to the CRTC and other agencies. The Agency had routinely withheld records it deemed confidential after publishing decisions on its website.

By Staff 

Back to Top