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Couple found their lost luggage after 4 months using an AirTag. AirCanada had tried to donate it to charity

Fortune 2/6/2023 Alice Hearing
Luggage On Conveyor Belt At Airport © Lu ShaoJi—Getty Images Luggage On Conveyor Belt At Airport

A Canadian couple spent four months tracking their lost luggage with an AirTag. It turns out AirCanada tried to donate it to charity. 

Nikita Rees and Tom Wilson were returning to their home in Ontario after their honeymoon in Greece, and had been asked to recheck their bags before a connection flight in Montreal, but Wilson’s bag didn’t turn up at their destination. 

Luckily, the pair had used AirTags and were able to track the bag themselves, giving them piece of mind. At first they put faith in the airline to return their luggage safe and sound after filing a lost luggage report. 

Instead, after 31 days, they saw through their app that the case had been driven all the way from Quebec to a storage facility in a place called Etobicoke, just outside of Toronto, stopping at two homes along the way. 

Documenting their ordeal on TikTok, the couple revealed that they took it upon themselves to drive to the storage facility, even asking a manager at Toronto Pearson Airport who said they’d never heard of it. When they got there, they discovered the unit was filled “floor-to-ceiling” with luggage. 

Rees revealed that AirCanada had determined their luggage as officially “lost,” and compensated them $2,300—the legal maximum—although Rees said that the money only covered around a third of what the contents of the case was worth. 

She explained that they just wanted the bag back more than anything, and that the money wasn’t going to cut it. 

On Jan. 23, Rees told followers on TikTok that they had finally received the bag, but only after the police launched an investigation and searched through 1,200 different items of luggage before discovering Wilson’s in 24 hours—"Even though they couldn't find it in the four months before,” Rees said in a video. 

Transferred “in error”

It turns out that the storage facility was owned by an unnamed third-party handler that took unclaimed luggage from the airline and donated it to charity. 

However, the International Air Transport Association policy states that unidentified luggage can only be disposed of after 90 days, whereas Rees and Wilson spotted their luggage being moved after only 31 days. 

The couple’s bags were “transferred prematurely in error," AirCanada told CBC.

"This customer traveled late in the summer at a time when all air carriers in Canada were still recovering from the COVID-related, systemic disruption of the entire air transport industry. One consequence was an elevated rate of baggage delays," AirCanada explained in a statement to the CBC. 

"In this particular case, the situation was compounded by the disconnection of the baggage tag at some point on the journey…Despite our best efforts, it was not possible for us to identify the bag's owner. It was designated as unclaimed, and we moved to compensate the customer."

Thankfully, Rees confirmed that Wilson’s luggage arrived still fully intact including two bottles of wine. However, she told Business Insider she doesn’t think it would have been resolved had their story not attracted attention on social media and in news outlets. 

AirCanada did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment. 

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