Ontario Woman Uses AirTag to Find Luggage After ‘Sunwing Nightmare’

An Ontario resident who lost her luggage while travelling with Sunwing last month tracked down her bag using the AirTag she stashed inside, but the airline has been unable to retrieve it for almost two weeks now — reports CP24.

On a trip to Cuba during the “Sunwing nightmare,” which saw people travelling with the airline experience mass delays and cancellations starting on December 22, Janet Greaves was separated from her luggage.

“We arrived at [Toronto Pearson International Airport] at 3:30 a.m and the check-in lineup was already out the door,” Greaves said in an interview on Friday. Her flight, originally scheduled for 6:30 a.m., took off at around 10 a.m. following multiple back-to-back delays. However, the plane left behind Greaves’ — and the majority of the other travellers’ — luggage.

Apple’s AirTags are portable, Othello game piece-shaped trackers that users can toss into their luggage or attach to items like their keys to keep track of them. AirTags ping off nearby Apple devices to transmit their location and can be tracked using Apple’s Find My network, which the company says is made up of a billion devices across the globe.

Even as the plane took off, Graves could see in the Find My app that her bag was still sitting on the tarmac at the Toronto Pearson Airport.

When she arrived in Cuba, Greaves said she was notified by Sunwing that her bag would not be flown to Cuba at all and that she would instead be reunited with it when she returned to Canada.

For the duration of her trip, Graves’ AirTag indicated that her luggage was still on Pearson’s tarmac, near an Air Canada hangar. Upon returning on January 2, Sunwing staff told Greaves that they couldn’t locate her luggage in the designated warehouse.

“I said ‘Well, it’s not here. It’s on the tarmac directly behind the Air Canada hangar,'” Greaves said. She even showed airline workers where her AirTag was indicating her bag was on her phone.

However, Greaves was told that was a “secure area” and that the bag, if there, could not be retrieved at that time. Instead, she was instructed to come back when her bag was ready for pick-up.

Unfortunately, it has been about two weeks since then and Greaves still hasn’t been reunited with her luggage — all while her AirTag tells her that her bag is still where it was the day she left for Cuba.

Since Greaves returned home, she says she’s been in a constant back-and-forth with Sunwing, attempting to convince them to retrieve her bag. She’s even offered to hand her phone over to a staff member and let them retrieve the bag using the AirTag without her, she says, but so far, her efforts have been unsuccessful.

Sunwing, meanwhile, says it continues to make “every effort to reunite customers with their bags that did not accompany them on their journeys.”

“We have advised impacted customers [travelling out of Toronto Pearson between December 24-27] of a new scheduling-based system where customers can call Central Baggage to confirm their baggage has been located and documented at our sorting facility, and book an appointment for pick up,” the airline said.

Greaves’ bag, however, is not at central baggage or Sunwing’s sorting facility. It’s still on the Pearson tarmac, according to her AirTag.

“I’m trying to be patient and I’m trying to be understanding because it was a disaster that day,” she said. “But [,..] I think the airport should have given me the option to not to go on that vacation when they knew my bag wouldn’t make it.”

If Greaves’ luggage isn’t retrieved by Monday, she can apply for reimbursement. However, Sunwing’s policy only allows for reimbursements of up to $2,000, while Greaves said the total value of her belongings inside the bag is approximately $4,000.

AirTags have more than proved their worth, especially for travelling. In B.C., one Air Canada traveller is using his AirTag to hold the carrier accountable for losing his luggage.

Securing your valuables when travelling isn’t all their good for, either. Last month, one user in Slovakia was able to locate and recover their stolen vehicle within 15 minutes thanks to an AirTag.