Keltie Neville failed to hit any jackpots during her recent trip to Las Vegas, but her luck took an even more dramatic turn for the worse when her Air Canada flight landed back at Pearson Airport in the early morning hours of January 6.

Already significantly delayed, the flight sat on the tarmac for another three hours while overwhelmed grounds crews struggled to deal with a sudden influx of flights. When passengers were finally released, they were greeted by a chaotic site in the baggage claims area, where Neville recalled seeing mounds of backed up luggage surrounded by exhausted and flustered travellers.

Neville says most of the airline’s baggage handlers had gone home for the night and couldn’t deal with the slew of suitcases that kept pouring in.

“There was not the grounds crew to handle it,” she said. “This is not because it was snowy out.”

Once it became clear her luggage was a virtual needle in a haystack, she filled out a baggage delay form and headed to a friend’s place because her condo was being renovated.

Eight days later she’s still waiting to be reunited with her suitcase.

In the meantime she’s filled out numerous forms, endured patience-testing phone calls and infuriating online searches, but still, no luggage.

“I’m assuming I’m not the only one (still waiting,)” she told CityNews.ca.

“If you go to my file on the tracker it says “Rush” and “Priority” and I’m clearly not…it’s eight days.”

Air Canada told her it was dealing with a backlog of 6,000 pieces of luggage after a deep freeze caused hundreds of delays and cancellations. Despite her ordeal she didn’t qualify for compensation.

“This is my First bad experience with Air Canada, but it’s bad,” she said, noting that she has another flight booked with the airline in March.

Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick couldn’t provide any updated numbers on how many people were still awaiting their luggage but said, “the vast majority of the bags have been processed and delivered.”

“It is possible a few may remain,” he told CityNews.ca in an email.

“We are working very hard to deliver all the bags.”

Neville needs her luggage back since everything else she owns – literally – is in storage while her condo is renovated.

“I packed that suitcase to live out of it this week,” she said.