chaos at airports | Baggage bingo losers can claim

There’s always some excitement when we go on vacation. But this summer comes a healthy dose of anxiety because of delayed flights, even canceled flights, and those mountains of suitcases that get lost at airports. However, travelers arriving at their destination with no luggage can seek consolation with a claim of up to $1,000 from their credit card issuer.

Posted at 5:00 am

When we receive a new Mastercard, Visa or Amex, we don’t necessarily see the point in reading the insurance certificate that comes with it. One of the good reasons has become apparent these days: to know what compensations are given when a trip does not go perfectly.

Insurance offered by credit cards can cover canceled or interrupted trips, theft of personal belongings from a hotel room, lost luggage on an airline, or “simple” delay. I just put the word in quotes because it’s not as dramatic as a trip to the water for a case of never-received passports. But it’s not pleasant, it’s time-consuming and expensive.

The least we can do is get the compensation that’s due to us.

Because there is paperwork to be done to report the luggage late. And all the time wasted on buying clothes and toiletries, if it’s not a dress for a wedding or a stroller.

Blandine Bois can confirm that. Even if she never managed to catch the plane that was supposed to take her to France. She was looking forward to introducing her family to her two children for the first time. His story is shocking.

On June 21, while queuing at security with her husband and daughters, 3 months old and 2 years old, in Montreal-Trudeau, she discovered that Air Canada had mistakenly checked her in for a flight to Nice instead of Lyon as expected. Another nasty surprise: this flight to Nice was already in the sky!

When it was almost midnight, unable to find an employee with a plan B, the family went in search of their suitcases to sleep back at home. Air Canada claimed that the luggage could not have left the airport without them. But they were gone. The journey home was therefore made without a car seat, the baby in her arms.

After a week, the four suitcases, the pram and the car seat were still missing. To date, the account is not complete. “It feels like playing bingo for lost luggage […]Losing my daughter’s favorite doll is heartbreaking,” says Ms.me Bois, who contacted Montreal, Nice and Lyon airports. This enabled him to learn that his stroller had “made a few transatlantic trips” for some obscure reason.


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY BLANDINE BOIS

Blandine Bois was due to travel to France at the end of June to introduce her children to her family and attend a wedding with her husband.

“Specifically, we bought a stroller and a car seat, and two or three other daily necessities for the girls, like mugs and toiletries,” says the mother, who received no money from Air. Canada. “We were never told anything about compensation for delays,” she says. The couple also did not file a complaint with their credit card issuer, unaware of the possibility.

Typically, the cards offer $500 or $1,000 per person if luggage is delayed more than four or six hours. The amount will not be paid out automatically. Instead, a refund of the purchase price is offered for “essential” products upon presentation of the invoice.

Be sure to read the list of non-covered items before you shop. For example, cosmetics, glasses, electronic tablets and photographic equipment are not insured for cards issued by the National Bank. Desjardins states that only “toiletries and clothing” are reimbursed. The Scotiabank Visa Infinite card agreement states that fees must be collected “no later than 96 hours after the time of arrival at the destination”.

Fortunately, all contracts are available online. These also indicate the procedure to be followed in order to make his claim.

You must first report delayed baggage to your airline and complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) before contacting your credit card issuer using the number on the back of the card. We can then do our shopping and send out the invoices after the holidays, explains Michèle Jobin, senior director, sales to individuals, direct sales channels, at Desjardins. In order to avoid quarrels and disappointments, it is better to stick to sensible purchases (sunscreen, makeup remover, toothpaste, affordable clothes).

The notion of essential products is subjective, but you are denied Louboutin shoes, starts Mme Jobin laughs.

Oddly enough, even when we see tons of lonely luggage at airports, Desjardins and the National Bank are not observing an increase in claims. Is it out of ignorance?

On the other hand, customers are more likely to call these two financial institutions to find out about their travel insurance coverage before they leave. We can see wisdom in it, or evidence of a very normal uncertainty in this abnormal summer time.


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

According to the Montreal Convention, airlines must compensate their customers after the loss of a suitcase.

Other ways to make claims

The conveyor belt turns tirelessly, suitcases pass, but not yours. And now the carousel stops. Of course you have to leave the airport without luggage. Oh no !

In this case, note that the Montreal Convention requires airlines to compensate their customers. The maximum is around $2300. “This limit applies to most international and domestic routes,” the Air Canada site said. The carrier will reimburse “reasonable intermediary expenses” (including hiring a bike if yours cannot be found) upon receipt of receipts.

Air Transat adds that baggage “is considered lost if not found within 21 days of the date it should have been delivered”. Before that, it is a “lag”.

Please note that a claim must be made within 21 days for delayed baggage and 30 days (21 days for domestic flights) for lost baggage.

The problem? “The airline has no obligation to compensate you if it took all reasonable steps to avoid the problem or if it was unable to take those steps,” according to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). Admit it’s not overly reassuring.

As a traveler, how can we prove that Air Canada or Air Transat did not take all “reasonable steps” to ensure our baggage arrived safely and on time? I predict a debate on this topic…

carrier or assgreator ?

Since credit card insurance provides compensation, who should be contacted first? you will ask.

“Customers are asked to make an inquiry with the airline first. In fact, the insurer can intervene in cases where it does not reimburse the customer in full created by the situation,” replied Alexandre Guay, spokesman for the National Bank. Same story at BMO, where it says “the credit card insurer is the second payer”.

However, this information is not included in the insurance contracts. And I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what mechanism would allow an insurer to know that their customer hasn’t yet been reimbursed by the carrier, but I haven’t gotten a clear answer.

Is it better to file two claims on the spot to increase your chances of getting compensation, even if it means canceling one later if necessary? Hard to say. But with dwindling trust in airlines and the difficulty in reaching their customer service, we certainly can’t blame a traveler for wanting to put the odds in their favor.

New PrProtection

You can also reduce your stress by purchasing a new product launched in late June by Montreal company Late Flight called Peace of Mind. For $15, this package includes an airline complaint service in the event that baggage is delayed or misplaced.

“The customer receives 100% of the compensation due to him,” it says, since no commission is withheld by Late Flight. This is not the case when dealing with a flight cancellation or delay complaint, as a 25% commission will be retained on the compensation received. In both cases we will do everything for you, but it is important to keep evidence.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

Jacob Charbonneau, President and CEO of Late Flight

Currently, the Peace of Mind package is only available through select travel agents. “Seven out of ten customers take it. The dynamic is great! agrees Jacob Charbonneau, co-founder and CEO of Late Flight, while ensuring that his service actually allows you to be compensated.

The entrepreneur does not rule out the possibility of selling his product directly to the public on his website in a year or two.

Incidentally, the FICAV, the compensation fund for travel agency clients managed by the Consumer Protection Agency, does not offer compensation for luggage problems. On the other hand, travel insurance offers additional protection, often flexible.

And be aware that if you have paid to register your baggage, you can be reimbursed for lost or damaged baggage.

No amount of money will make you forget the contents of your suitcase, but leaving money on the table will ruin your vacation just a little more.

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