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Syrian refugee in luggage limbo after forgetting briefcase on flight

OTTAWA —Mohammad Al-Fadle, a Syrian refugee who recently arrived in Canada with his family, is caught in a distressing situation after accidentally leaving his briefcase on a flight from Dubai. The incident occurred on July 25, when Al-Fadle and his family disembarked in a hurry at Toronto's Pearson Airport, inadvertently leaving behind a crucial briefcase containing items essential for their new life in Canada.

The briefcase contained vital personal items such as glasses, watches, and business documents, including paperwork crucial for Al-Fadle's new life in Canada. Notably, a laptop within the briefcase held important documents that were pivotal for various administrative processes. Realizing the loss within minutes of disembarking, Al-Fadle approached airport security to reenter the plane, but he was denied access despite the aircraft still being on the tarmac.

Al-Fadle's ordeal took a challenging turn when he realized the difficulty of retrieving his briefcase. Martin Low, the Chair of the Belvedere Sponsorship Group, intervened on the family's behalf. He attempted to establish contact with Air Canada's central baggage call center in India. However, communication hurdles obstructed their progress, leaving the family in a state of uncertainty.

Air Canada's communication network, which directed passengers through the lost and found, complicated matters further. Despite Low's persistence and escalations, the airline failed to provide any meaningful communication regarding the lost briefcase. The family was left anxious and frustrated by the lack of information.

In response to the situation, Air Canada acknowledged the significance of the case and pledged assistance in locating the lost bag. Duncan Dee, a former chief operating officer for Air Canada, commented that while security protocols were adhered to, more could have been done to assist Al-Fadle if the situation had been communicated effectively. The ideal approach in such scenarios is for passengers to remain at the lost and found area, facilitating the identification of lost items.

As the days stretched into weeks, Al-Fadle's best course of action became waiting for updates from Air Canada. Unfortunately, the passing of time complicated the search process. Airline staff had to manually search the inventory, leading to an anticipated 90-day waiting period for resolution.

The uncertainty surrounding the situation has taken a toll on Al-Fadle and his family as they grapple with anxiety while hoping for a positive outcome. Their story sheds light on the importance of clear communication between passengers and airline staff, particularly in cases of lost belongings. The incident also underscores the challenges refugees face during their resettlement journey, where even minor setbacks can significantly impact their new beginnings. As the search for the missing briefcase continues, the Al-Fadle family remains hopeful for closure either through recovering their belongings or confirming their loss.



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