Our Readers' Opinions
December 23, 2009

LIAT can do better!


Editor: I witnessed what I consider to be inhumane treatment of passengers at the “Piarco International Airport.” Not that I blame the LIAT workers there, but I put the blame on the LIAT airline, whoever is responsible.

Some Vincentians were traveling back to their country.{{more}} They arrived at the airport before 6 a.m. I, too, arrived early, as I was traveling to San Juan, on Tuesday 15th December, on a flight scheduled to leave at 8:40 a.m. (Flight No. 384).

After a long time had passed, it was announced that the plane had technical difficulties. At intervals, we were told that the flight would be ready by such and such time, which did not realize until 4:30 p.m. I know that this is not unusual with LIAT, but why wasn’t another LIAT flight postponed to allow the passengers to travel to St.Vincent and me to San Juan? I ask this because I know of Vincentians flying out of St.Vincent who had their flights postponed to accomodate other passengers (such as Bajans, Trinidadians etc) returning to their respective countries from St.Vincent.

I vividly heard a woman (I presume she is a Bajan, based on her accent) say that in her experience as a traveler, in most cases, Vincentian passengers are on the receiving end of biased treatment when it comes to flight delays with LIAT. More effort is made to assist passengers of other countries. Are Vincentians being victimised for some unknown reason? I wonder. I think it’s time for LIAT to pull its socks up and treat travelers far better than they are presently doing, especially Vincentian travelers.

I call on the St.Vincent Prime Minister, the honourable Dr Ralph Gonsalves, to look into this matter and ensure that his citizens receive better treatment from LIAT. LIAT’s airfare is already too expensive because they do not have competition from another airline. LIAT charges travelers who arrive late for their flights in order for them to get another flight. Yet LIAT is not willing to refund passengers a percentage of their fare when the delay is LIAT’s fault, disrupting passengers’ schedule.

What kind of thing is that? Is that really fair? LIAT, I implore you, please do better. Stop the inhumane treatment of Vincentians. Vincentians are people, too, like everyone else in the world. Treat all with fairness, please. We are all the handmade of God.