Windsor family still waiting for lost luggage 2 weeks after returning from Iran

Members of a Windsor, Ont., family say they're still missing their luggage two weeks after returning to Canada from Iran, and are awaiting answers from Air Canada about their belongings.

Family says repeated attempts to get luggage back from Air Canada get no answers

Moe Abdollahi holds the claim checks that go with the luggage that has been lost on a recent Air Canada flight. His family stands next to him.

Moe Abdollahi and his wife and two sons returned to Canada from Iran on an Air Canada flight at Toronto's Pearson airport on Aug. 15.

They discovered two of their six bags were missing, and say that after a two-hour wait at the lost baggage claim, they were told they would be getting their bags in two days.

However, Abdollahi said, after numerous calls to the airline's customer service department over the past two weeks, the family still has not received their bags — and has no idea when they'll be returned.

"The money is important, but I'm talking about the customer service," said Abdollahi, the owner of a pizza place. "Nobody respond to us. Nobody says sorry. It means they don't care."

Abdollahi said one bag contained a laptop worth about $1,500, as well as a $580 gaming console.

He said his teenage son Amir needs the computer for school next week, so Abdollahi is faced with having to buy a new one.

"We call [Air Canada] like 10 times a day," said Abdollahi's wife, Kimia Pirmoradi. "Just one time they answered the phone and then they said, 'Your luggage is going to come after four or five hours.' Like, you know, this happened like three or four times. Now today is like two weeks. Still we didn't get our luggage and then we don't know what to do."

A group shot of Moe Abdollahi at an airport overseas reveals a lime green suitcase at Abdollahi's feet, one of the missing bags.

Other items missing include clothes and souvenirs purchased in Iran while visiting family. Abdollahi estimates the value at around $3,000.

Industry expert John Gradek said incidents like these are all too common this summer, and this delay in getting luggage returned is par for the course. He said that since the family changed planes in Dublin on the way back from Iran through Istanbul, the luggage is most certainly still in Dublin.

"There is a major problem in Dublin. Dublin's baggage handling for connection passengers has been troublesome all summer. There are just too many bags connecting at Dublin," said Gradek, the academic co-ordinator of the aviation management program at McGill University.

"Dublin is very much an originating airport, not an airport that you have a lot of connections over — except for this summer, where Turkish and Ryanair and EasyJet just put a lot of capacity into Dublin."

Gradek suggests the family could put in a claim with Air Canada for the monetary loss. He said there is also the Air Passenger Rights group that helps travellers. But Gradek expects it will take another week before the luggage is retrieved, although he has heard it's taken two months for some items to be returned from Dublin.

He suggests buying Apple AirTags for your luggage when travelling, so you know where they are anywhere in the world.

CBC reached out to Air Canada about Abdollahi's luggage and was told the company deals directly with customers, but that the "file remains open."

"Generally, we can also add that most customers do arrive with their baggage and avoiding baggage delays is a top priority for us. We know very well delays are disruptive and inconvenient for our customers," the company said in an emailed statement.

In an Aug. 19 letter to Abdollahi that was obtained by CBC News, the airline has apologized for the delay, saying "due to the higher number of current requests, it may take as long as 45 days for an Air Canada representative to get back to you."

However, the airline made a contradictory statement about baggage handling in an Aug. 17 news release on the company's website that read: "During the week of June 27, mishandling rates per 1,000 customers were approximately 2.5 times the same number in 2019. As of the week of Aug. 8, this rate has fully recovered to 2019 levels with a baggage handling success rate of 98 per cent."

Abdollahi said if he doesn't get the luggage back, he will put in a claim to get reimbursed for the loss.

Both he and his wife said they would not use Air Canada again after their experience, and would pay more money to fly with another airline.

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