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WestJet must take more responsibility for lost bags, CTA rules

11/21/2014 11:06 EST | Updated 01/21/2015 05:59 EST
If WestJet damages or loses your baggage, it can’t pass the buck following a Canadian Transportation Agency ruling this week.

The same applies for delays on flights.

​GaborLukacs of Air Passenger Rights had filed a complaint against the WestJet policy of directing disgruntled passengers to the last carrier they’d travelled on, rather than the first, or the airline that actually destroyed or lost their property.

“WestJet can no longer pass the buck on baggage-related claims,” Lukacs said in a news release.

“WestJet must live up to its responsibility for loss, damage, or delay of checked baggage, and can no longer send passengers on a wild goose chase by redirecting them to other airlines.”

Lukacs claimed WestJet routinely sent complainants to the last carrier on a flight, even when WestJet started the trip or damaged the bags.

WestJet countered it had never said it was not liable in such situations, but that it directed passengers to the last carrier on their route "because it is the most appropriate and efficient means to seek a settlement," the CTA ruling noted.

But CTA ruled differently based on the Montreal Convention, which states:

"As regards baggage or cargo, the passenger or consignor will have a right of action against the first carrier, and the passenger or consignee who is entitled to delivery will have a right of action against the last carrier, and further, each may take action against the carrier which performed the carriage during which the destruction, loss, damage or delay took place.

"These carriers will be jointly and severally liable to the passenger or to the consignor or consignee."

Lukacs, who lives in Halifax, celebrated the ruling as a victory for passengers.

Lukacs has a successful track record when it comes to fighting for passenger rights.

In 2013, the CTA upheld his complaint and ordered Air Canada to pay from $200 to $800 in cash to bumped passengers on domestic flights, depending on the length of the delay. 

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