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Air Canada Launches Baggage-Tracking Service for Domestic Flights

A new feature within Air Canada’s smartphone app follows incidents in which the airline donated a lost bag to charity and sent a Vancouver-bound suitcase to Madrid

by Lauren Smith

December 5, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of CNW Group / Air Canada

Passengers on Air Canada flights within Canada can now track their baggage and mobility aids in real-time via the airline’s smartphone app. The feature will be extended to U.S. flights next year.

As baggage tags are scanned at key points in the journey, the information is transmitted to the passenger through the app, allowing them to follow their bags from check-in, through connections, and on to their final destination. The app will direct passengers to the appropriate carousel to locate their luggage there.

Photo: Courtesy of CNW Group / Air Canada

The Canadian flag carrier said the new feature aims to increase passengers’ confidence and improve their travel experience. It also provides oversight of checked bags that wary passengers are increasingly giving to themselves by zipping Apple AirTags and other tracking devices into their suitcases.

Of course, bags can still go astray between Air Canada’s checkpoints or end up in the wrong airport entirely, as one unfortunate couple found out last year. In those instances, the app can alert passengers to potential problems with their luggage and allow them to file missing bag reports from within the app, eliminating the need to wait at the baggage assistance counter at the airport.

Air Canada’s baggage tracking service can also track mobility aids such as wheelchairs, as the airline enhances accessibility for disabled passengers. With the app, passengers can verify their mobility aid has been loaded onto their plane and will be available at landing.

Photo: Air Canada Embraer E170. Courtesy of David Preston / Unsplash.

Tom Stevens, Air Canada’s Vice President of Customer Experience and Operations Strategy, said: “At Air Canada, we know that apart from a safe, comfortable journey, the prompt delivery of baggage and mobility aids is a top priority for our customers.”

“We already achieve a very high-reliability rate, but to further elevate our service, we are introducing a new tracking feature in the Air Canada mobile app to give customers real-time information, greater certainty about the movement of their belongings during their trip, and heightened convenience.”

Despite Stevens’ claims about the airline’s performance, the new feature follows several headline-making incidents when Air Canada very much fumbled customers’ bags.

Photo: Courtesy of Air Canada

Last fall, Air Canada misplaced the suitcase of a couple returning from a honeymoon in Greece. As the airline insisted they couldn’t find the bag, the couple tracked its location using an Apple AirTag tracking device they’d packed alongside their clothes and souvenirs. With the help of the police, they finally located the bag in a warehouse operated by an unnamed charity, which had received it as a donation from Air Canada. The airline apologized for the incident and compensated the couple.

In a further embarrassing incident, a couple who flew from Mexico City (MEX) to Vancouver (YVR) traced their lost baggage to Madrid, again using an AirTag.

The feature will be rolled out to Air Canada flights to the U.S. next year and extend to other international flights.