It was a horrible feeling that got worse with every passing second. Raegan Hatch waited and worried about her luggage that never arrived.
“I waited there and hoped it would come because I didn’t know what to do without it.”
The 17-year-old is a goalkeeper for the Calgary Northwest Ringette team, U19A Attack.
The team took a WestJet flight to Burnaby for a tournament this weekend.
They emerged victorious and took home the top prize.
But Raegan didn’t come home Sunday with the very equipment that helped earn them that gold medal.
“All my friends got their bags and I watched them leave until there was no one else left and then the panic set in,” Raegan said.
“If it doesn’t come, my season is ruined.”
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Her father, Kevin Hatch, said it was troubling.
“I don’t know how you lose a bag that big. For me, I didn’t want to buy new equipment. It gave me stress, it’s not cheap,” said Kevin.
Calls to WestJet left them even more irritated.
“We wait on the line for four hours to talk to someone and then they tell you: ‘Hope it’s on the next plane.’ But I waited here for two hours on Monday to see if I could see it and no luck,” said Kevin.
“They suggested that we fly back to Vancouver to look for the bag ourselves, it was shocking to me.”
“They can’t even call other baggage departments in Vancouver to look for a bag,” Kevin said. “They have to send a message through their system. They can’t call each other, which in my mind is a failure in the efficiency department.”
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The ordeal of lost luggage prompted a call from team manager Cassandra Drouin. Within hours of her Facebook post, strangers, other ringette players and even random WestJet employees offered to do whatever they could to reunite her with her beloved bag.
“It was just incredible. I’ve never backed people up like that before, especially over a goalie sack,” Raegan said.
“It’s impressive how people come together for something that means a lot to a child,” Kevin said. “We owe them a lot of thanks, especially our team manager, who did a great job.”
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“A WestJet employee saw this and got the ball rolling. Without it we wouldn’t be here. I don’t know when or if we will get her things back.”
She missed a game and a practice, but finally got a message from the airline on Thursday afternoon.
She picked up her goalie bag from the baggage claim counter.
“So good to have it back, I’m excited,” Raegan said.
“I love watching her play, it’s nice that she can play comfortably and confidently again,” Kevin said.
So far, there has been no explanation from WestJet to the Hatch family or Global News as to why the bag never made it onto her flight.
However, Madison Kruger, Media Relations Advisor at Westjet sincerely apologized for the significant inconvenience and understands their frustrations.
“Acknowledging the current travel ecosystem, we understand that there have been impacts on our guests across the travel journey, including luggage delays and we thank our guests for their continued patience and understanding,” said Kruger.
She added the airline is still working with a third-party service provider to provide relief luggage delays and invested in additional WestJet surveillance to support the delivery of their luggage services on time.
But they are not taking any chances for the next out-of-town tournament.
“After that scare, I’ll put in a tracker,” Raegan said.
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