American Begrudgingly Refunds Checked Bag Fees for Lost Luggage – But Only for Canada Passengers

Most provisions of Canada’s new Air Passenger Protection Regulations went into effect July 15. They lay out new rules that apply to flights to, from, and within Canada – including connecting flights.

One of the rules is that when an airline damages or loses luggage they must refund checked baggage fees they collected. After all, they didn’t provide the service they charged for – prompt transport of luggage from one place to the next, delivering it in the condition it was received (outside of normal wear and tear).

American Airlines sent a memo to their customer care teams at both their mainline and regional operations reminding them of this obligation. They’re supposed to direct customers to request a refund on the American website.

Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) became effective July 15th, 2019, establishing a set of minimum airline requirements when the customer’s baggage is delayed, lost or

Effective immediately, customers protected under the Canadian APPR are eligible for a refund for their baggage fee(s) when their bag(s) are delayed, lost or damaged.

It’s striking that passengers flying to or from Canada are entitled to their baggage fee money back if American loses or damages their bags, but passengers flying American within America are not. The airline should adopt this policy for all customers not because it’s what government regulations require, but because it’s the right thing to do.

In fact both Delta and Alaska Airlines have found that strong customer service in baggage delivery matters for customer perception and influences the likelihood of customers to buy tickets and do so at a premium. Both Delta and Alaska offer baggage delivery guarantees — not just that they deliver bags, and do so undamaged, but deliver them in 20 minutes or else they’ll pay out compensation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] American Begrudgingly Refunds Checked Bag Fees for Lost Luggage – But Only for Canada Passengers by VFTW. Seems ridiculous that American Airlines doesn’t just refund this fee as standard. If you’re flying within the U.S. and this happens you should be able to file a chargeback with your credit card issuer as AA never provided the service you paid for but not sure if AA would then go after your loyalty account. […]


  1. But that says everything right down to the core @ American
    they are a backstabbing greedy self serving company that has no interest in paying customers, their satisfaction and or experience flying American or running a fair and balanced program
    That’s why after 20 years of flying them and Doug Parker running the airline in years past I no longer do business with them

  2. And what in the world does a picture of Kim Jong Un have to do with this “story?”

    More thought leadership at work, I guess.

  3. If all companies did what was the right thing to do, there would be no need of government regulations.

    Until then, we need government regulations.

  4. American couldn’t care less about what’s the right thing to do. They should care, but they often enough ignore common sense, so altruism seems a lot to expect.

  5. There is absolutely nothing striking about American not refunding bags in a deregulated country. It’s exactly what Economists would expect, since consumers individually have no contractual power.

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