Montreal

Ants on a plane, the sequel: Dude, where's my luggage?

Some passengers on a WOW airlines flight that landed in Montreal Monday still don't have their luggage back, four days after they were forced to abandon it on an ant-infested plane.

Some passengers still waiting for luggage to be returned 4 days after ants discovered on flight

A WOW Air airplane, like the one seen in a photo from the company's Twitter account, was grounded Monday after ants were discovered in the cabin. Some passengers are still waiting for luggage. (WOW Air/Twitter)

Some passengers on a WOW airlines flight that landed in Montreal Monday still don't have their luggage back, four days after they were forced to abandon it on an ant-infested plane.

On a plane coming from Reykjavik, Iceland, passengers were forced to leave behind their carry-on luggage — including purses and coats — when the plane landed, after some passengers noticed several ants crawling in the overhead bins.

Renée Levaque, one of the passengers, said Thursday she was forced to leave behind a bag, knapsack, winter coat and a scarf.

Levaque said even after visiting Trudeau airport and making several calls to WOW airlines since, she still doesn't have her stuff.

"We were promised that our luggage would be delivered the very next day. It was poorly handled. They weren't prepared. They absolutely weren't prepared for that," Levaque told CBC News.

No luck at airport

Levaque said when her luggage wasn't delivered Tuesday morning, she decided to head to Trudeau airport herself.

She lives in Quebec City, but was staying with her daughter in the Montreal area after the flight. It was a 60 kilometre drive each way to the airport, and she had to pay $24 for parking, she said.

The trip was not fruitful.

"The WOW representative at the airport said 'I have no information for you, you should ask customs.' The man at customs said 'I have no information for you you have to talk to the WOW representative'," Levaque said.

After going back and forth between the two desks several times and not getting any answers, Levaque left in frustration.

Renée Levaque said no one from WOW airlines has been able to tell her when she'll get her personal efffects back -- four days after she had to abandon them on the plane (Renée Levaque)

No luck on the phone

On Wednesday, Levaque had to return home to Quebec City, so she decided to work the phones.

That was equally frustrating.

She called the airline's customer service line, and was referred to three different departments before being asked to leave a message with her name, phone number and luggage number, she said.

"The thing is, I have no luggage number! I had to leave my stuff on the plane! I tried calling again — to no avail, no answer back," Levaque said.

This morning she tried calling WOW customer service again.  She was referred to yet another number. It was out of service.

"C'mon! You got to be kidding! There must be more than an answering machine for this stupid company!" Levaque said.

Finally, on Saturday, she said she got a hold of a WOW representative, who told her a different company would deliver her luggage by Sunday or Monday. 

The representative told her the plane was decontaminated on Tuesday, and was back in commission the same day. 

Levaque said she was told her things would be put in a box and delivered to her house. 

WOW responds

WOW Air put out a statement just before midnight on Friday, saying that the vast majority of passengers have received their luggage.

"We are working very hard, together with Swissport, in order to get the remaining 13 passengers their bags. We deeply regret the situation and the delays," read the statement.

The company's website has no corporate contact telephone number.  

It appears Levaque is not the only passenger who has been having trouble. Other passengers also tweeted about problems with getting their bags back.

Levaque said she's flown with WOW before and had good experiences. But she said the airline seemed completely flummoxed by the ant crisis. She wondered how they might respond to something more serious.

"If somebody had a heart attack or something — it would have been critical," she said.

About the Author

Steve Rukavina is a journalist with CBC Montreal.