delong

Lynn DeLong says he's still waiting for some of his luggage. (David Shield, CBC)

Travellers on a flight from Varadero, Cuba to Saskatoon still haven't received their luggage, days after they touched down.

On Sunday, a Sunwing Airlines flight left 140 bags on the ground at the Varadero airport. 

Strong headwinds meant the plane had to take on extra fuel. That meant luggage had to be taken off the plane to accommodate the extra weight.

Traveller Lynn Delong said Thursday they weren't told about the situation until after they landed in Saskatoon.

"When we were taxiing up to the gate, she said, I've got some good news and some bad news," he said. "The good news, you're home. The bad news, your luggage is still in Cuba."

While some of the luggage has arrived, it may take days for all the bags to be accounted for.

"They could have at least told us before we left what was happening," said DeLong. "Why did they have to wait for the end of the trip?"

DeLong said he had heard flights to Regina and Calgary that day had also run into baggage problems.

Sunwing problems

This isn't the first time Sunwing has run into service problems.

In December, police had to be called to the Calgary airport to quiet angry travellers after their flight was delayed for eleven hours.

As well, travellers in Ontario complained earlier this year when they were forced to take a bus from Windsor to Toronto, turning what should have been a three and a half hour flight into a 20 hour ordeal.

Travel blogger Chris Myden runs numerous websites that follow travel deals across the country. He says Sunwing has much fewer planes than its competitors, and is especially vulnerable when something goes wrong.

"So, when something happens, like a mechanical problem, or you can't get a crew, something like that, there's really not much they can do. Their hands are kind of tied," he said.

A representative for Sunwing could not be reached for comment.

Carry-On Solution

So, how can you protect yourself if your luggage is broken?

Travel agents say the best strategy is to plan ahead.

"When I personally travel, I make sure to take in my carry-on that change of clothes," said Ixtapa Travel's Tamara Graae. "If it's a hot destination, make sure to have a bathing suit in the bag."

As well, travel insurance will often compensate fliers if their bags are delayed or lost.