Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Big White skiers left without gear after airline loses bags

It hasn’t been a smooth ride for people looking to ski in the Okanagan. Not only have they been impacted by flight cancellations but the gear they need to hit the slopes isn’t making it here either.

The Donnelly family flew into Kelowna, B.C. on a WestJet flight from Indiana a few days ago for a short vacation at Big White Ski Resort. However, not all of their luggage made the journey with them.

“Unfortunately those bags were our ski bags and we were expecting them a day later you know perhaps, but they haven’t yet arrived. Literally, when we got here we were in tennis shoes,” said Maria Donnelly.

Not only did their ski gear not make it, the family was also left without their winter clothes. Ever since they have been desperately trying to get their belongings back.

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“The frustrating part is that there’s no communication with WestJet, the website isn’t updating,” said Donnelly.

“It’s not showing where our bags are and when we could have them and it’s impossible to get through on the phone.”

Travel woes continue at Kelowna International Airport

In a statement to Global News, WestJet says it is trying to do its best to reunite passengers with their luggage.

“Our baggage teams across our network have a lot of bags to sort through after the large backlog of cancellations experienced over the holidays,” the statement read.

“But they are working around the clock to get them moving and delivered to our guests as fast as possible.”

The problem is not uncommon and Big White is also trying to accommodate those without their equipment.

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“We’ve dealt with delayed luggage, and lost luggage before never in this magnitude. What you’re seeing on the news right across North America is affecting us like every resort in North America,” said senior vice-president of Big White Ski Resort, Michael Ballingall.

“We have a shuttle service that goes in and out of that airport 27 times a day, so we’re having a lot of bags delivered to us or we’re picking up a lot of bags. We’re acting like a central commissary for the entire resort.”

Read more:

‘Unpredictable and unseasonable’ weather swings challenge Big White staff

The Donnelly family has finally been able to enjoy the hill, after they say a dozen people offered to lend them ski equipment and winter clothes.

“The resort is beautiful, the slopes are wonderful, and we had a chance to ski for two days,” said Donnelly.

In the meantime, the family says their flight home has also been cancelled and they’re hoping that will give their luggage time to catch up, if only for the journey home.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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