Winnipeg airline passenger wins 3rd baggage complaint

WestJet could be forced to increase the compensation it pays for lost or damaged luggage after the Canadian Transportation Agency again ruled in favour of a Winnipeg man who has launched three successful complaints against Canadian airlines in less than a year.

Challenged WestJet's $250 liability limit for lost, damaged luggage

A Winnipeg man who loves to travel but hates having his luggage damaged in the process has won his third case against a Canadian airline in less than a year.

In a preliminary ruling issued Tuesday, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) said that WestJet Airlines could be forced to increase the compensation it pays passengers for lost or damaged luggage.   

The agency issued the ruling after receiving a complaint from Gabor Lukacs, an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Manitoba, about Calgary-based WestJet's $250 limit on baggage liability.


WestJet baggage liability: Is $250 compensation enough? 

Lukacs argued in his complaint that Air Canada's limit is $1,500 for lost luggage on domestic flights while international carriers provide much higher levels of compensation.

An official with WestJet says the discount carrier is reviewing the decision but that it is too early to say what changes, if any, will be made.

The airline has the right to appeal the ruling.

Marc Comeau, a spokesman for the transportation agency, says it has the authority to order WestJet to change its policy.

Took on Air Canada

It's the third victory against Canadian airlines for Lukacs in less than a year.

Last May, he made national headlines after winning a compensation ruling against Air Canada.

Lukacs was returning home on an Air Canada flight in the fall of 2008 when he noticed signs outlining the airline's no-fault policy on lost or damaged luggage. He subsequently lodged a complaint about the policy, which says the airline is not responsible for delayed or damaged baggage, with the CTA.

The CTA found that Air Canada's no-fault policy violates international conventions and Canadian law and ordered the airline to change it.

Last August, Lukacs filed a small-claims suit against Air Canada for damaged luggage. Court records show the court ruled in his favour for $150 in damages on Oct. 22, 2009.

With file from The Canadian Press