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I flew into Montreal yesterday from the US, and Air Canada neglected to put my bag on the plane. They put it on the first flight today, which landed about six hours ago, and as far as I know the whole time since then it's been sitting waiting for someone to take it through customs so that I can pick it up (or have it delivered). That's pretty much all I've been able to get from anyone: just be patient, it should clear customs "soon" and be ready tonight (or maybe tomorrow morning).

I know in all likelihood I just have to wait, but I'm trying to leave Montreal tomorrow morning and drive a couple hours away, so: given that the bag is probably just sitting down the hall from the exit, is there anything else I could try to get it to me?

  • You need to keep them up to date with your address. They will deliver it to you at your next destination. – user13044 Aug 17 '17 at 1:21
  • @Tom I know, and I will give them the new address if I don't have the bag before I have to leave. They wouldn't take a second address with a second date range when I talked to them. – Cascabel Aug 17 '17 at 1:24
  • (Also given that they've made multiple promises they apparently couldn't keep about timeline so far, I'm a little concerned about how long they might take to deliver it to a new address a couple hours away from Montreal, so I'd rather get it as long as I'm nearby if at all possible.) – Cascabel Aug 17 '17 at 1:35
  • The one time I had a bag delayed on a Customs-clearing flight on Air Canada, our bag took a couple of days to arrive to our local airport but got to me the same day it did. Air Canada cleared it through Customs for me, but told me that if Customs wanted me present, had the right to ask. I assume this would have been handled at my local airport had this happened. – Jim MacKenzie Aug 17 '17 at 15:56
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Things you could try if you're getting nowhere with the Central Baggage Office, trading your time and inconvenience for the possibility of resolving this more quickly:

  • Track your bag on WorldTracer to confirm its whereabouts. You can use this in the next two steps so that you can say, "I've tracked the bag and see that it has been here in Montreal for the past N hours. I would like to pick it up now please."

  • Try contacting the Air Canada baggage department at Montreal directly, rather than the central lost luggage department. It doesn't appear that they publish the number, but you could call the airport operator at 1 800 465-1213 and ask for Air Canada baggage. I've never done this in Montreal, but I have done this when I need to speak to airline staff at a particular airport, and with calm and polite persistence, you should be able to get someone on the phone.

  • Show up at the airport. Ask to speak to someone from Air Canada baggage (in my experience, finding this person can be the tricky part for international flights; you might need to enlist the airport operator or information desk to help). Politely explain the situation, tell them you want your bag, and be prepared to wait. Ask for a supervisor as needed.

There's obviously no guarantee that this will get them to cough up your bag, but if you state your needs politely but firmly and are persistent, you've got a good chance of eventually getting someone who can help.

  • Thanks! I'm off to to the airport soon to see what I can do. I've been looking on WorldTracer the whole time - it's how I knew which flight it had been on. It never actually updated after landing, until late last night when the "other delivery address" field was changed to say "bag at international arrivals." They haven't called, but hopefully that's a good sign. – Cascabel Aug 17 '17 at 10:48
  • I wrote an answer of my own with some specific details that should work for others who like me know that their bag is actually at the airport (as opposed to just missing/on its way), specifically how you can talk to someone from Air Canada baggage from while at the airport, but your advice outside of that is definitely really helpful too. – Cascabel Aug 17 '17 at 12:32
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You can talk directly to someone at the baggage office from the airport. My bag had not yet cleared customs as of 8am the day after it arrived (at 3:30pm), but an Air Canada employee brought it through for me after I'd told them that I knew it was there and provided my file number.

To do this, go to the "baggage claim" in the external part of the international arrivals area, which is simply three black phones on the wall, with a button for each airline.

The sign at the phones is far too small to read from a distance, but there is one large "baggage claim" ceiling sign sending you in the right direction if you turn left from the entrance (or right from where you walked out of customs on arrival). The phones are just to the left of the hallway leading to customs from the outside, and there are clear signs pointing into that hallway.

  • Glad you got your bag back and it all worked out! – Zach Lipton Aug 17 '17 at 16:14

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