Everyone else that had arrived in Toronto on Air Canada 142 and was transitioning to the States had picked up their bags by 4:15 PM, yet I was still waiting for my suitcase at 4:45 PM.
When I checked with baggage services I was told that my bag hadn’t been ‘flagged’, but they couldn’t tell me whether it had made the flight from Vancouver.
I asked if I could go into the domestic baggage hall to see if my bag had been sent there in error. The bag guy told me that I could, but that I’d have to fill in a Canadian customs form and go through Canadian customs to ‘get back into Canada’.
Well apparently, when you’re transitioning to the States from Toronto, you’re already in the States as soon as you enter the baggage claim area, despite the fact that you haven’t yet cleared U.S. customs. Because they couldn’t tell me how long the lines at Canadian customs were, I decided to pass on that option.
Besides, I know how Canadian Customs operates. Because I’d never really left the country, they probably would have had to consult with Ottawa and I would have been stuck overnight in no-man’s baggage claim land or worse, be deported to Quebec.
Leaving the country (really) without the bag wasn’t an option either, as U.S. Customs has a problem with people going into the country without their baggage, or with the baggage being sent separately. The case can be made to let you go without your luggage, but waiting an hour to in a customs lineup to find out that they won’t let you through wasn’t a happy proposition.
So I decided to wait until our boarding time (5:40 PM), and if the bag hadn’t showed up by them, I’d overnight in Toronto instead.
I couldn’t wait much longer though. There’s no washroom in that baggage area and the closest one was in the adjacent baggage area to which one of the baggage people would have to escort me and give me access.
Sure enough, as soon we got into the other baggage area, I saw my bag.
What can I say but that I wasn’t impressed with having to wait an hour and a half for my bag and missing dinner due to the short connection. I think Air Canada really dropped the ball and didn’t do nearly enough to find out where on the ramp they’d left my bag to languish.
Oh ya, and to top it off, they broke one of the wheels on my suitcase. Ugh.
The good news is that eBags has come great deals on suitcases (spinners particularly) at the moment.