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Mario Stojanac and his family are still waiting for their luggage — 10 days after flying home on a direct Sunwing flight from the Dominican Republic to Toronto.
“Right now, it’s in an abyss,” he said. “Where’s my stuff and will I ever see it again, and why won’t anyone tell me what’s going on?”
The family landed in Toronto around 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, during an ice storm that lasted through the weekend. During that time, several Sunwing flights were delayed and many passengers went home without their luggage.
Some travellers still haven’t received their bags. They say the long wait and lack of information about their missing luggage is unacceptable.
“I feel like they don’t care,” said Stojanac. “Absolute apathy.”
Sunwing says its troubles that weekend were caused by a large number of absentee workers at Swissport, the company that runs the airline’s baggage handling and gate operations.
The airline told CBC News it’s “deeply disappointed” by the “customer service failures” that ensued. It said it’s now working on contingency plans to prevent this from happening again, and has sent apology letters plus compensation to affected passengers.
When they landed in Toronto, no baggage arrived from their flight, and the family says they received no direction from Sunwing at the airport.
After waiting more than three hours, they learned from a fellow passenger they needed to fill out a missing luggage claim form in order to get through Canadian customs without their bags.
“Why no one from Sunwing could have announced that is beyond my comprehension,” said Mary Luz Mejia, Stojanac’s wife. “It was like a game of broken telephone.”
Around midnight, the family finally gave up on their missing luggage, handed in their form, and headed home — four hours after their arrival.
Stojanac said he’s contacted Sunwing multiple times a day for updates. On Tuesday, he says he received a call that the airline had found his bags, but it turned out they belonged to his brother’s family; they had been on the same flight.
On Friday, Stojanac said Sunwing gave him the name of a courier company it said had his luggage. He called the company and says it denied having them.
“I was pretty pissed off,” he said. “Nobody can tell me where the stuff is.”
Meanwhile, the family has had to purchase necessities packed in their missing bags including makeup, undergarments and workout clothes. They have yet to hear when their luggage will arrive.
“It’s not acceptable,” said Mejia.
Joe Petix in Vaughan, Ont. has been waiting nine days for his luggage after taking a Sunwing flight from Jamaica to Toronto on April 15.
He says a courier did arrive with luggage on April 22 — but delivered only one of his family’s three missing bags.
“When is this comedy act going to end?” he said. “This is a disaster.”
Unlike Stojanac and Mejia, Petix received an apology plus $ 100 in Sunwing travel vouchers in compensation for each family member. However, he says he has no desire to travel on the airline again.
“How they handled the situation was very bad.”
Sunwing passenger Lyndsay Burke-Sholer got her luggage back on April 22, but she said it was no thanks to Sunwing.
She was supposed to fly from Jamaica to Hamilton on April 15, but, due to a crew issue, her flight was redirected to Toronto and landed around 11:30 p.m. She says the plane sat on the tarmac for more than five hours before passenger were allowed to disembark.
“It was complete hell,” she said. “I saw people hyperventilating, kids were crying. I think it was about 3 a.m. when they finally offered us a drink of water or juice.”
Burke-Sholer says when she finally entered the airport, there was no sign of her luggage and no indication when it would arrive. She left empty-handed and made the hour-long journey to her home in Hagersville, Ont.
Fortunately, she says a friend travelling in her party who works at the Hamilton airport located her luggage at the airport this past weekend. Burke-Sholer was able to pick it up.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “It should have had that sent to my door immediately.”
Sunwing sent her an apology plus a $ 300 refund for her troubles. She said it’s not enough.
“It doesn’t cover the way people were treated.”