Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has announced a relief flight to accommodate the 150 CAL passengers displaced by Tropical Storm Isaac.
The flight will depart Montego Bay at 4:55 a.m. for Ft Lauderdale tomorrow. That same airplane will bring in passengers who have been stranded in Ft Lauderdale since Sunday, if they were not able to catch a flight yesterday, said CAL's general manager, Clive Forbes.
The airline was forced to cancel three flights into that US city as a result of the tropical storm.
According to Forbes, Kingston passengers who were affected by the cancellations are being accommodated on the regular flights up until Wednesday of this week.
"Our call centre has been calling all passengers to advise them of the updates," he said.
The airline's announcement came hours after it was criticised by several passengers for not being capable of handling a crisis situation and lacking in appropriate customer service skills.
"There is absolutely no customer service. There is nobody knowledgeable about handling a crisis," lamented former Air Jamaica Chairman's Club member, Nelsia Salmon.
Salmon, who said she travels with the airline at least three times per month, described the staff handling the flight at the airport as persons recruited through an employment agency, then placed around a counter.
David Lee Sin, who arrived at the airport at 5:00 a.m. Monday, his second consecutive day, said the airline's approach to the situation amounted to "slackness".
"They are not dealing with us as customers, because we were never made aware of the situation via email or phone calls," he said.
A 23-year veteran in the business, Derron McLeod of Toronto, Canada, said no obvious preparation was made for passengers who had been stranded since Sunday.
Most of the passengers with whom The Gleaner spoke were not aware that once a flight is cancelled because of bad weather or any other 'act of God', normal procedure is for those affected to be placed on standby, until seats become available.