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Delayed baggage claim leads to $700 payout for WestJet traveller

A WestJet logo is seen in the domestic check-in area at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, May 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck A WestJet logo is seen in the domestic check-in area at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, May 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A WestJet traveller will receive hundreds of dollars from the airline for delayed baggage that held his gear for a Hawaiian golf trip.

A Civil Resolution Tribunal decision published this week outlined details of a trip Kelly Quist took from Kelowna, B.C., to Kahului, Hawaii, last January. Quist claimed $3,000 through the tribunal, saying WestJet "spoiled his vacation by delivering his baggage late."

WestJet denied the claim saying, at most, Quist should receive just over $450.

In his decision, tribunal member David Jiang explained Quist's trip flew him out of Kelowna on Jan. 20, 2023 and back to Vancouver late on Jan. 24, 2023. According to WestJet's documents, Jiang wrote, Quist complained about a luggage delay on Jan. 21 and his bag was delivered to him two days later.

Under the Montreal Convention, an airline is liable for damage due to a baggage delay, unless it can prove it took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damage, Jiang wrote. WestJet didn't give enough evidence on the measures it took, Jiang said, so the airline was found liable. As a result, Quist was eligible to be reimbursed for items that were "reasonably necessary."

The tribunal heard Quist submitted receipts to WestJet for reimbursement totalling more than $2,200 USD. But those receipts, Jiang wrote, were for purchases made between Jan. 21 and 24, meaning some were after his bag was returned.

"Mr. Quist says that WestJet's representative told him to 'buy whatever you need' and 'it will all be reimbursed.' I find this uncorroborated by any evidence," Jiang's decision says. "In any event, assuming the representative used this wording, I find they did not make an unlimited guarantee of reimbursement."

Receipts from Jan. 21 show Quist bought golf shoes and gloves. He also rented a golf club or clubs. Jiang said he found these expenses reasonable because he was on a golf trip. He did not, however, think Quist's submitted expense for a tee time was compensable, saying Quist "would have incurred this fee in any event."

About $350 USD in other golf-related purchases made on Jan. 23 was also not approved for reimbursement.

"WestJet emailed Mr. Quist that morning to advise he would receive the baggage that day. Mr. Quist does not deny receiving or reading the email that morning," Jiang wrote. "I acknowledge the courier delivered the baggage in the afternoon. I nonetheless find this insufficient to conclude the expenditures were reasonably necessary when he could wait for his baggage."

Other purchases made on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, including 13 shirts, six pairs of shorts, eight pairs of socks, nine pairs of underwear and a towel were also denied reimbursement.

"I find this exceeds what is reasonably necessary. By this time, his trip was nearing its end. Mr. Quist knew his baggage was on the way or had already received it," the decision says.

But along with the golf equipment purchased on Jan. 21, Jiang said Quist was entitled to reimbursement for some necessities including a shirt, a pair of shorts, two pairs of socks and three pairs of boxers. The total of those approved purchases and rentals came to just over $609 CAD.

Quist was also awarded pre-judgement interest and CRT fees, bringing his total compensation to $704.21. Top Stories

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