‘This is a joke, right?’: Some travellers’ baggage lost for days as Pearson struggles with broken luggage belt
Published Monday, December 26, 2022 2:29PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 27, 2022 1:55PM EST
Passengers travelling through Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson International Airport are reporting serious baggage delays as the airport struggles to catch up from a broken luggage belt.
Images from the terminal show a sea of unclaimed bags sitting in the baggage area.
One viewer who sent CP24 video of the bags said workers described the situation as "beyond disaster.”
In an email to CP24, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority said that extreme cold temperatures have caused problems with baggage this long weekend.
“Some passengers on flights departing from terminal 3 over the weekend may see baggage delays with machines and airline staff working in extreme cold temperatures,” the airport said. “We're working with the affected airlines to minimize delays and keep bags flowing.”
But a number of people passing through the airport said they were told to leave their bags behind because the terminals luggage belt was broken. One woman said that she went on to her destination without clothes or Christmas presents.
“We left Pearson on the 24th. Your baggage belt was broken and we were told just to leave our luggage there,” one traveller wrote in a tweet to the airport. “Dec 26 and our air tags show they’re still in Terminal 3. What’s going on? We have no clothes or Christmas gifts for our children and no one is updating us.”
A couple from the Netherlands whose three hour-layover on-route to Miami turned into three days told CP24 that they went shopping for coats this Boxing Day since all their belongings are stuck at the airport.
“We don't have a jacket because our suitcase is at the airport right now,” said one of the two, who identified himself as Max.
Another traveller tweeted ‘this is a joke, right?’ at the airport. He said that he landed shortly after 11 p.m. on Dec. 23 and waited for his bags for hours before being told at 5 a.m. to go home because the luggage wouldn't be arriving until later that day.
“Back to the airport for 3 hours on 24th ... who pays the $50 parking fee for that ???” he wrote.
Speaking with CP24, GTAA Spokesperson Rachel Bertone said the baggage system stopped working on Saturday because “components of the infrastructure handling baggage stopped due to the cold weather.”
She said she couldn't provide numbers yet as to exactly how many bags and travellers have been impacted. However she said that the system was back up and running as of 4:30 a.m. this morning and the airport is now working to reunite passengers with their lost baggage.
Bertone said passengers from Sunwing and Westjet flights have been affected.
“Toronto travellers: we’ve been informed that the baggage belt in Terminal 3 at Toronto Airport is not operating due to a mechanical issue. This issue affects all carriers in Terminal 3,” Sunwing wrote in a tweet. “As a result, we can’t guarantee that customers’ checked baggage will accompany them on their southbound flights from Toronto. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available from the airport.”
Some airline passengers have already been coping with nightmarish delays due in part to a massive winter storm. WestJet cancelled most of its flights Friday and hundreds of Sunwing passengers have been stranded at their destinations for days, some of them sleeping in airports and hotel lobbies.
Via Rail passengers have also been feeling the pain. Via Rail cancelled all of it trains between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal Sunday and again Monday because of a derailment.