Understanding the Law
January 15, 2010

More travelling worries

The traveling public has to endure so much hassle today when traveling to North America. There was a time when more effort was made to ease the pain of travelling and our suitcases were tagged right here in Saint Vincent for New York so that we were spared the inconvenience of collecting our luggage in Barbados to make that international connection.{{more}} This was when LIAT, our regional airline, and BWIA had decided to make life easier for the travelling public, but that arrangement was short lived and was discarded long before BWIA changed its name and became the Caribbean Airlines. Persons who enjoyed the fleeting pleasure continue to extol the convenience of this small service and wish for its reintroduction.

Warm meals

Among the services that have been slashed is the warm meal that was provided and paid for by passengers. No reason has been given for its withdrawal, but one can surmise that it was too much trouble for American Airlines. The warm meal was an important service for Vincentians who very often leave their homes for Barbados early in the morning to make the international connection around three or four p.m. A cold or hot drink without cost is still provided, but sandwiches and snacks have to be purchased.

Fees for checked luggage

International flights continue to cut back on the weight allowances for checked luggage. The standard practice with most passenger airlines at one time was to allow free of cost two pieces of luggage, at seventy pounds each. Now, it is fifty pounds each for two pieces of luggage. In the United States, airlines such as Continental and Delta have placed a fee on each piece of luggage. And as Carol Purcel of the Seattle Times warns, “be prepared to find the overhead bin a little tighter and your wallet a little lighter” as the fees for checked luggage on airlines such as Delta and Continental have increased. Delta has increased the fees from fifteen dollars to twenty-three dollars each way on the first piece and twenty-five to thirty-two dollars for the second piece of luggage when checking in online. Checking in at the airport is even more expensive. It is hoped that this fee hike does not spread to other airlines. In SVG we are already restrained, as we are required to pay fees for that second piece of luggage that is checked at the LIAT counter.

Notwithstanding the problems that could arise with traveling: unexpected delays, failure to make international connections, among others, the airlines need to pull their acts together and not only provide better services but more reasonable ticket prices for the travelling public.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com