Team Canada wheelchair basketball player frustrated after airline loses custom gear

Elite Manitoba Paralympics are dissatisfied with having WestJet return the lost equipment to the airline within hours of being contacted by the CBC after spending a month begging for it. ..

Joshua Brown is a wheelchair basketball player with Team Canada’s U23 lineup heading for the men’s team of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation. This year’s World Championships in Thailand.

Brown, a cerebral palsy, has spent much of his life working towards that goal.

“There is only one chance to compete in the Junior World Championships,” he said. “This is my chance.”

But after WestJet lost an important part of the gear on a direct flight from Winnipeg to Toronto, he couldn’t prepare as he wanted.

A 21-year-old woman from East St. Paul, who is currently living and training with the Toronto national team, said she was depressed when she realized that the equipment wasn’t working.

He had all the other bags, so he waited for more than an hour for the gear to appear.

“I’m pretty patient. I don’t like to cause huge scenes, so I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting.”

The wait lasted for a month as Brown and his parents called the airline many times and traveled to both Winnipeg and Toronto airports many times.

According to Brown, the gear used by wheelchair basketball players is a custom fit and can cost months or even thousands of dollars to replace. (Canada Wheelchair Basketball)

The lost bag contained his special sports wheel and other custom wheelchair parts. According to Brown, the exchange can cost months and thousands of dollars.

“It’s not like buying clothes or toiletries,” Brown said. Mr Brown said he tried to explain the importance of these wheels to WestJet agents.

“Only a few companies make them,” he added, adding that each athlete has equipment tailored to their specific measurements and needs.

“So you can’t just go to someone and ask him to lend it to you,” Brown said. “It must be a man close to your height and weight.”

He had to compete with Team Manitoba this month, missing some important practices due to the loss of his bag. People in early June With a borrowed device that kept breaking.

“It’s a bad person to have,” he said. “As a team member of Team Canada, you don’t want to be the guy sitting there.’Oh, can I borrow this? Can I borrow it?'”

“Myriad Challenges”: WestJet

The CBC contacted WestJet on Thursday to find out what had happened. Within seven hours, the airline found a bag that had been lost for a month.

WestJet sent an email to Brown and apologized for any inconvenience.

He says he’s happy to get it back, but the experience is still frustrating.

“It literally took less than a day since they knew the whole interview and everything that was happening on TV,” he said. “It seems a bit suspicious to me.”

According to Brown, his wheel bag is a characteristic oversized baggage and was surprised that it could be lost on a direct flight from Winnipeg to Toronto. (Joshua Brown)

“The baggage delays we see are primarily the result of a myriad of challenges, including flight delays and cancellations, resource constraints, and ground operations,” WestJet said in a statement. increase.

The airline said it is “investing in additional WestJet surveillance” for its partner responsible for “providing baggage service in a timely manner.”

Brown said he was looking forward to putting the case behind him and focusing on his passion, wheelchair basketball.

“It was my life,” he said. “I haven’t stopped playing sports since I was four or five years old.”

He said he is now paying direct attention to the preparations for the International Tournament in Turkey in August and the Junior World Championships in Phuket, Thailand in September.

Manitoba Paralympics frustrated after airline loses custom gear

A Manitoba Paralympic athlete spent a month begging WestJet to look for the lost device, but had it returned to the airline within hours of being contacted by the CBC.

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