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The other day, I was on a flight from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Chicago O'Hare (ORD) with one checked bag.

I checked in online earlier and had my boarding pass with me. It completely slipped my mind that I need to print my luggage tag at a kiosk before heading to U.S. customs clearance area.

I cleared customs, and those familiar with travelling to Pearson would know, you then head over to drop your bag off and go through security.

At the time of dropping my bag on the luggage belt, there was some airport staff but no one cautioned me about the bag not being tagged. I got to Chicago, and sure enough, no bag. That's when it all sunk in.

I filed a report at the Air Canada baggage office in Chicago and I have a file reference #. I've identified contents of my bag- however, it's been 3 days and still nothing.

I suspect my bag will have stayed in Toronto and so I am hoping that upon my return to Toronto, I might be able to make some progress.

Now, for my questions:

  1. Is there some additional steps I should be carrying out to facilitate the process and improve the chances of getting my bag back?
  2. Am I eligible for compensation from the airline (Air Canada) given that it is partly my fault for forgetting this step?

Edit 1 (day 3): I spoke to lost & found at Pearson and they told me that bags that go on to the belt don't typically reach them and that SwissPort (they handle baggage) might be able to shed some light

Edit 2 (day 4): I contacted Swissport Baggage Services (905 694 1736) and got voice mail. Called Swissport and they told me "Air Canada handles luggage for T1 even if it was untagged" and to contact AC

Edit 3 (day 5): I contacted Swissport again to see if I get the same story from the previous day. It turns out Swissport handles baggage for Terminal 3 and that I have to contact Air Canada directly

Edit 4 (day 5): I went to the airport to see if I can find the bag at Air Canada lost and found. They brought me to a room that had untagged bags and it wasn't here. I will now fill out a baggage declaration package and the chances of recovery are slim

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    Then Toronto is very odd because at Vancouver staff scans the luggage tag and the boarding pass to make sure they match. – chx Apr 20 '16 at 20:12
  • @chx They're supposed to do that at Pearson as well, before you even get to preclearance, but apparently this got missed somehow. But it's airport staff, not airline staff. As for the baggage drop, that's entirely self-service. – Michael Hampton Apr 20 '16 at 20:44
  • I can't find a picture of Vancouver but this article shows Montreal and the situation is similar at Vancouver: you carry your US bound luggage past check in, put it on a belt which does not move until it is scanned by guards. It's not entirely a self drop off. – chx Apr 20 '16 at 20:58
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    @MichaelHampton, the bag in that clip doesn't appear to have a tag! I do know that I've traveled many times through pre-clearance in Terminal 1 at Pearson without anyone ever scanning a baggage tag. It may be that the person at the entrance to the pre-clearance is supposed to watch for missing baggage tags and send you back to check-in to get them, but I've not had anyone ever ask to match the baggage tag to my boarding pass. – Dennis Apr 21 '16 at 18:27
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    Did you visit the airport's lost and found as well? Despite their protests, it might well be there after all. – Michael Hampton Apr 23 '16 at 5:06
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As you never tagged the bag, Air Canada has zero chance of recovering it for you, short of assigning a staff member to physically search for it. But as they never officially received your bag, they have no responsibility in the matter. So answer to question 2 is no compensation.

As you cleared through US immigration, then dropped your bag, it is most likely that when the baggage handlers found the bag without a tag at the other end of the belt, they simply put it in a secure area, where it will remain until someone comes specifically looking for it. As SwissPort is the ground handler at the airport, they are the only ones who could possibly track your bag down.

When you contact SwissPort you will need to be able to accurately describe your bag, brand of suitcase, size, color, identifying marks or id tags. If it doesn't have a name tag on the outside, is there anything inside that proves it is yours? A specific unique item or a name tag inside (I always put a business card or two inside the internal pockets in my luggage). And as it was never tagged to a destination or airline, you will likely have to come claim the bag in person when you return to Toronto.

  • Called Swissport and they told me "Air Canada handles luggage for T1 even if it was untagged" and to contact AC...I am now at a loss. – karancan Apr 21 '16 at 20:36
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If your baggage had no tag visible on it, it would not likely be handled by any airline, but be turned over to the airport's lost and found. You can call or email them directly.

Any items found in our terminal buildings are turned into the Customer and Terminal Services department for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and may be reached at (416) 247-7678, toll free at 1-866-207-1690, or by email at lostandfound@gtaa.com.

Starting December 21, 2015, you may speak with a Lost and Found Coordinator directly at the Lost and Found office located on the ground level of Terminal 1 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Found items are stored for one month.

I don't think you'll be eligible for any sort of compensation from the airline, since it wasn't their fault your baggage didn't make it onto the flight.

  • I spoke to lost & found at Pearson and they told me that bags that go on to the belt don't typically reach them and that SwissPort (they handle baggage) might be able to shed some light – karancan Apr 20 '16 at 21:13

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