In September 2021, Jessica Kalynn arrived in Dubai for a six-day trip.
His luggage, however, did not arrive there until two days later.
Air Canada offered Kalynn $500 in compensation, but she filed a lawsuit in BC Civil Resolution Court, demanding more money to cover her expenses.
Last week, the court ruled in his favour.
Baggage delays are one of the many frustrations travelers face at airports across Canada as airlines ramp up operations to meet post-pandemic travel demand.
In the disputeKalynn argued that she was entitled to $2,120.67 for all the items she claimed she was forced to buy in Dubai while she was waiting for her luggage.
Since Air Canada had already paid $500, she requested another $1,620.67.
Four pairs of shoes, five tops
Once she learned that her luggage had been delayed, Kalynn purchased more than $2,000 worth of items, including four pairs of shoes, six bottoms, five tops, a bathing suit, two bras, two pairs of underwear, a pack of socks and toiletries, according to the court’s written judgment.
Kalynn told the court she needed the clothes because her trip included a work conference, a business dinner at an upscale restaurant and workouts at the gym.
Air Canada argued the spending was excessive and tribunal member Shelley Lopez agreed – to some extent.
“I find it reasonable for Ms. Kalynn to purchase different clothes and footwear given the activities she had undoubtedly planned,” she wrote.
“Even with the different activities, I find Ms. Kalynn has not sufficiently explained why she needed four pairs of shoes (in addition to what she wore on the plane) and six bottoms and five tops. , even if she had to change her clothes for a day.”
Still, Lopez concluded that Air Canada owed Kalynn additional compensation. She ordered the airline to pay $700 in compensation in addition to the $500 the airline had already paid.
Passengers entitled to compensation
Gábor Lukács, an air passenger rights expert, welcomes the decision.
“[It] shows that passengers who go to the CRT are going to get justice,” he said, adding that passengers do not need to simply accept whatever amount an airline initially offers and deems reasonable.
In Canada, if baggage is delayed, passengers can claim up to approximately $2,200 in damages.
But the key, says Lukács, is to make it clear that your purchases were justifiable.
“This decision … signals to the passenger that your luggage is delayed, this is not a reason for shopping,” Lukács said.
If a traveler can prove to the CRT that all items purchased were necessary, he says it’s entirely reasonable to expect the maximum in compensation. It encourages air passengers who lose their baggage to keep all their receipts, as well as documentation of how the items were used.