LIAT passengers boisterous after flight delays
July 16, 2013

LIAT passengers boisterous after flight delays

The Special Services Unit (SSU) of the police force had to be called to the E T Joshua airport Sunday afternoon after persons, said to be passengers of LIAT, became boisterous because of flight delays and overbooking.{{more}}

When SEARCHLIGHT arrived at the airport at about 6 p.m., several members of the SSU were standing outside, just opposite the entrance to the check-in area, but there was no sign of misconduct.

In the sweltering check in area, some persons however, could be heard angrily voicing their frustration, while others sat silently with depressed faces.

According to one of the persons present, the SSU officers arrived at the airport around 5 p.m.

Jeff James, a Jamaican travelling to Barbados with an onward connection to his homeland, said he saw when the police officers arrived.

“Some people were getting noisy and they called for the police. But people have their rights. It’s not that anything was wrong with the plane.

“You took people from another flight and put them on the flight they were supposed to be going on. So what they expect people to do?” the passenger asked.

James, who said he had been at the airport since 2 p.m. explained that his flight, LIAT 726, which was scheduled to depart E.T. Joshua at 4:10 p.m. had been cancelled.

“They told me there’s a 10 p.m. flight to Barbados and they are telling me that is full.

“Most of these people here, including me had confirmed flights. And they took them off the flight and gave their seats to other people without consulting them.

“And they turn around and saying that the flight was overbooked. The flight was not overbooked,” he added.

According to information received, a 3:20 p.m. flight to St Lucia and Barbados was also cancelled.

“There were a set of people — Brownies and they took those people, put them on our flight and then turn around and tell us the flight was overbooked.

“When I asked the young lady at the desk, when I miss my flight to Jamaica, who is going to pay for my ticket? Because if you don’t travel when you are required to, then you have to buy a new ticket.

“She’s telling me that they will give me food. I am not interested in food. I am interested in them honouring the contract they have with me to take me to Barbados at a particular time,” a frustrated James further stated.

Another passenger, Tyrone Johnson revealed that he was travelling to Barbados for an appointment at the US Embassy on Monday (yesterday), and his flight had been cancelled.

Johnson said he was told by a LIAT agent that the next available flight to Barbados was on July 18.

“I was here since 1:50 p.m. and was scheduled to travel on flight 756, which should have left already. It’s now after 6 and I’m just here now waiting. Not sure on what, but I’m waiting.

“When I got here, they said the flight was cancelled. That’s all they said. No other information as to the reason why. I asked if there is a possibility to get out of St Vincent today and they said there is no guarantee.”

Johnson said his flight to Barbados had been booked since June 20.

There were also persons who said they were scheduled to return to work yesterday, but were not sure they would be able to and feared they would lose their jobs.

“I had a connecting flight to Philadelphia from Barbados. Now my flight out is cancelled and no one from LIAT can assure me of my connecting flight,” said Sandra Garrick, who was booked on LIAT flight 726.

“I have to be at work tomorrow (Monday) and this is what I am stuck with here today? No surety of getting out,” she added.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that since July 10, LIAT passengers trying to fly out of E .T. Joshua had been experiencing lengthy delays.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted Desmond Brown, LIAT’s Corporate Communications manager yesterday for a comment on the situation, but up to press time, no response had been received.(AA)