Traveller raises baggage security concerns at Montreal airport
Published Tuesday, August 21, 2018 7:31PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 22, 2018 12:17PM EDT
A man who casually walked into the off-limits baggage area of the Montreal airport without being stopped by security guards is raising concerns about safety.
Kyle Rougeau has filed a complaint against Air Canada after he says his luggage went missing and later turned up in a heap of unattended bags.
“This is a completely wide open area that anyone can go into and anyone could take bags or add things to bags. I think this could be a huge security risk,” Rougeau told CTV Montreal.
Last weekend, Rougeau took an overnight flight with Air Canada from Saskatoon to Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. He brought checked baggage on the flight, but when he landed, the luggage did not show up on the carousel.
Rougeau searched the area for his bag, including a large pile of luggage near the carousel. He couldn’t find it, so he spoke with someone from Air Canada customer service.
“They said definitely there’s going to be flights tomorrow morning, so guaranteed by 10 a.m. tomorrow morning every hour on the hour we have a flight coming in from Toronto and we will be able to deliver your bags directly to your house, and you would not have to come back to the airport,” he said.
But the next day, Rougeau says, there was still no word on the whereabouts of his belongings. So he took the situation into his own hands.
He returned to the airport on his own and walked directly into the baggage area. He says no one stopped him or asked him what he was doing there.
“I walked behind the security behind here. No one talked to me,” he said, adding that a “do not enter” sign was not visible.
It was then that he rummaged through another large pile of unattended luggage. Finally, he found his missing bag.
In a statement, Air Canada blamed weather for the incident.
“The situation at the Montreal airport arose due to weather events impacting our operations, including severe storms lasting several hours,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline said the baggage was in an area “monitored by cameras” and that there are agents present and airport security patrols, “so the bags are secure.”
The airport said security guards patrol the baggage area, but airlines are responsible for handling luggage.
After he found his bag, Rougeau says he spoke with customer service and alerted them to the fact that he easily walked into the baggage area.
“And they said, well, that’s never happened,” he said.
Passengers who lose their bags are entitled to compensation, and Rougeau says he hopes for his money back.
In Ottawa, the federal government has tabled a passenger bill of rights addressing a wide variety of issues related to travel. The proposed changes to the Canada Transportation Act include stricter rules on bumping travellers from flights and new regulations for operating railways.
Public consultations are currently underway on the bill.
With files from CTV Montreal and CTV’s Montreal Bureau Chief Genevieve Beauchemin