From $600 to $2,000: Sunwing nearly quadruples baggage allowance after criticism - National |

From $600 to $2,000: Sunwing nearly quadruples baggage allowance after criticism – National |

Sunwing Vacations has come under scrutiny for telling passengers they would be compensated far less than the legal obligation for their missing and lost luggage.

The travel company told several passengers it would reimburse them up to $450 — roughly $600 CAD — for what they spent replacing essential items in luggage that didn’t arrive at their destinations.

Sunwing has since “revised” that amount to CAD 2,000 – much closer to the CAD 2,300 maximum set out in Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which require airlines to compensate for lost luggage.

“There is no legal basis for (the $450 amount),” Gábor Lukács, president of the Air Passenger Rights advocacy group, told Global News. “It’s just a scam.

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Air Passenger Rights called the initial lower amount reported by Sunwing on Twitter “misinformation”.

But the problem is that many passengers don’t know what their rights are, Lukács said, and extremely complicated rules don’t help.

Julian Rizhanovsky is one of the travelers who had no idea that airlines are required by law to compensate up to $2,300. He told Global News that his two friends did not receive their luggage from Sunwing when they arrived in Cuba, and had already spent around US$750 in two days replacing essential items from their luggage, given the country’s high tourist prices.

“We didn’t get dropped off in Florida where we can pick up $10 T-shirts,” he said. “There was nothing of the sort.

It was only after Rizhanovsky explained his friends’ situation on Twitter that Sunwing responded with a “revised” compensation amount.

Click to play video: 'Transport minister concerned about passengers stranded abroad'

Transport Minister ‘concerned’ about passengers stranded abroad

“I apologize for the confusion,” Sunwing responded on Thursday. “The maximum amount for the purchase of necessities at the destination (for delayed or lost baggage) has been revised to CAD 2,000 per person. Please keep the receipts and send them when you return.”

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Global News contacted Sunwing for an explanation of the changing amount, but had not received a response by the time of publication.

On Wednesday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Twitter that he was “very concerned about the current situation with Sunwing Airlines” regarding the reported lack of communication.

“This ongoing situation is unacceptable,” he said. “Passengers have rights.”

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Sunwing has been plagued by problems in recent weeks that have left passengers stranded in many countries.

The airline said Thursday it was sending dozens of flights to Mexico to bring home thousands of passengers stranded after winter storms disrupted service.

Sunwing also announced Thursday that it is canceling all flights to and from Saskatchewan until Feb. 4, 2023, “effective immediately.” The company said in a statement that it had no choice but to suspend all operations from Regina and Saskatchewan airports and that all passengers would receive compensation within 30 days.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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