Dear Mr. Reece:
I am addressing this to you and some others to point the very bad experience I had on a recent return flight from Guyana to Canada via Kingston Jamaica. To be more specific: Flight OJ 258 from Cheddi Jagan International on September 11, 2018.
The departure time for this flight was 5:00 a.m. on September 11, 2018 and in order to be at the Airport in time for checking in, I left home at 1:00 a.m. to comply with the required three hours, prior to departure.
On checking in, I discovered that the flight was routed through Kingston, Jamaica, contrary to what my Agent in Canada told me: “A direct flight to Guyana and direct return to Canada.”
The flight arrived in Kingston on time – 8:30 a.m. Jamaica Time and we were informed that it will depart at 9:30 a.m. for Toronto. At about 9:30 a.m., we were informed that there is a problem with the Air Condition Unit and efforts would be made to have it fixed. We were held on board until about 11:30 a.m., during which time passengers were offered a bag of Banana Chips, when we were advised to disembark, complete immigration forms and proceed to the Transit Lounge.
On the way to the Transit Lounge, representatives told us that the replacement aircraft is ready and will be prepared to leave in about 90 minutes. We cleared immigration and Customs, having to go through a thorough check, and then proceeded to the Transit Lounge.
There were no representatives available (well past noon) to provide any information from this time on.
When enquiries were made at the information desk, the answer was that they had no information to give and could not contact Fly Jamaica personnel. Some Security Staff attempted to help but were unsuccessful.
At about 1:00 p.m., a fellow traveller, who was there to join the flight OJ258 to Toronto, who is Jamaican, joined our small group and chided us, Guyanese, for being docile.
“Man, Jamaicans would have had this place jumping. Why don’t we block the entrance to the Boarding Level so no other flight can Board?” – No action on the part of the Passengers- Guyanese!
He then said that he knows the Lawyer for Fly Jamaica and proceeded to call her. She promised to help. After a second call, we were told that there will be a Representative at the Information Booth to help. No one arrived. There was no one else at the Information Booth.
At about 2:30 p.m., passengers were invited to Board. All this while, there was no offer of snacks nor a lunch nor a drink and yet no Representative in sight.
Having boarded, the Flight Crew spun their tales:
i. There were not enough baggage handlers to transfer the baggage from the disabled plane.
ii. There was an accident on the Highway to the Airport that delayed the Crew. (Are there other roads leading to the Airport?)
iii. We are completing the paper work for the departure – approximately one hour and after two manual head counts.
Finally, at about 6:30 p.m. the flight departs. All this while on Board there was no offer of snacks or even a drink. It was announced later that drinks are available at a price.
Arrival at the Gate at Pearson International was about 10:25 p.m. By the time immigration and Customs were cleared it was about midnight.
Please ponder on the following:
Someone coming from the Corentyne to join the flight had to spend about 3 – 4 hours travelling to get to the airport in time for check-in.
One passenger, of whom I am aware, had a connecting flight to Montreal and no one could say what was being done to help him. He was not aware of any offer to arrange for overnight stay until the next flight out. There might have been others going to other destinations.
Many passengers had to report for work on Wednesday, September 12 between, perhaps 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
There were many Seniors on this flight, who might have missed their medication or Medical appointments.
My apologies for inaccuracies in times quoted. I did not keep notes by the hour nor did I keep a log. This was prepared after arriving home and still tired.
What should Mr. Reece and Fly Jamaica do? Offer compensation for meals to everyone; acknowledge, by individual letters, the mis-management and explain why staff failed to recognise the plight, stress and inconveniences of the passengers; Offer a discount coupon of a minimum of 25 % for future flights and permit the transfer of the coupon to any traveller without expiry dates.
Train all staff and Crew to tell the truth and find out information if they do not know the answers.
Explain why there was no information to keep passengers informed in this age of Computers, Cell Phones and sophisticated Media_ Systems.
Explain why Travel Agents could not inform passengers of the stop-over on the return flight; Survey all passengers if you need to verify any of the claims made by the writer.
It is up to the Board of Directors to decide whether they will pacify as well as compensate the passengers and hopefully regain their confidence so that they will continue to support Fly Jamaica.
I plan share this with the media and other relevant parties and also look forward to your response.
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