Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Deplorable service from Caribbean Airlines

Published:Saturday | September 27, 2014 | 9:00 AM

Jamaica needs to take back its baby. I never had bad service on Air Jamaica!

I thought you would like to hear about my experience. Below I have included a large excerpt of the letter I submitted to Caribbean Airlines:

"Dear Mr Dilollo or Whom It May Concern:

This summer, my family and I travelled to Jamaica for a vacation to celebrate a college and a high-school graduation. We secured rooms at the all-inclusive Club Riu Resort, Ocho Rios, and we booked our flights online. I was in charge of securing flights for four of the 11 passengers that travelled this summer. I booked the four flights on or about August 2013 for July 4 and July 10, 2014 (see travel documents attached). Our flight was scheduled to leave JFK at 5:40 a.m. and arrive in Montego Bay at 8:25 a.m.

On my way to the airport on July 4, 2014, the website for both Caribbean Airlines and JFK indicated that my flight was on time. When we arrived at the airport at approximately 3 a.m., we were asked to wait in line to speak to a Caribbean Airlines agent.

While we waited in line with other passengers, the agents appeared to be engaged in a meeting. Once the meeting was over, we were asked to step up to an agent to discuss the flight. When I walked up to the desk, I was told by the agent that my flight was cancelled; I missed the opportunity to take a Delta flight; and I could return to take the flight scheduled for the next day.

She never apologised for the inconvenience. She never showed any sympathy or empathy. She even seemed annoyed with me for being disappointed and upset about my flight. I explained to her that a flight the next day would be unacceptable, as the resort would either cancel my reservation or I would simply not have the benefit for the day that was paid for.

Alternative flight

I asked if she could search another airport or a sister airline for a flight that we can take that morning. I explained that I could not afford to lose my reservation or lose a full day that we already paid for. She flat out LIED and told me that she could not search other airports or airlines, which I know is not TRUE! I asked to speak to a manager.

I was forwarded to the supervisor on the floor. I explained my situation to the supervisor and asked if he could look for flights in any airport leaving out that day so that my party and I could leave for Jamaica and not lose a day of our paid vacation. He seemed to not have time to discuss this with me, and he sent me to speak to his manager, Dan.

Dan was very understanding and very helpful. Although, he was very busy handling the task of getting passengers from my flight on to a Delta flight, he took the time to speak to me. Unlike other personnel, he acknowledged my concerns. He tried to see if I could be placed on the Delta flight, but that flight was already overbooked. He then said that the agent could search other airports or that I could be on placed on the 1 p.m. flight to Kingston (which was a connecting flight to Montego Bay, which I researched on my phone while speaking to Dan).

Dan sent me back to the supervisor. The supervisor sent me back to the previous woman and her atrocious attitude to put me on the 1 p.m. flight. He claimed that he was not trained to issue tickets, so he couldn't help with issuing me the tickets for the 1 p.m flight.

Long-lasting impression

This 1 p.m. flight to Kingston was never offered or even suggested originally.

We boarded our 1 p.m. flight, which was, of course, delayed. We were told by several staff members that the crew in Kingston knew that the connection was a close one and would hold the flight for the passengers. Well, we landed in Kingston 15 minutes after the connecting flight took off without any of the scheduled connecting passengers for that flight.

At this point, I had missed my morning flight, spent hours in JFK, just to land in Kingston and discover that it will be several more hours until I reach my destination.

I went to a Caribbean Airlines agent and explained my situation and that we were stranded since our transfer with JTL tours in Montego Bay could not be honoured in Kingston. The Caribbean Airlines staff in Kingston promised to get us a transfer. We waited, waited and waited. We were eventually given vouchers for light food and drink before the transfer finally arrived. I did not arrive at the resort until 10 that evening.

This experience and this airline left a long-lasting impression of deplorable customer service, for several reasons. The website stated the flight was on time when, in fact, that was untrue.

Needless to say, I suffered great financial loss. We missed our transfer with JTL, which was US$17 per person, which amounts to a loss of US$68 total. We missed 12 hours, which is one full day of our vacation, including food, lodging and all other all-inclusive amenities.

The cost of our stay for July 4 at Riu Ocho Rios was US$119 per person, which is a total of US$476. We are not interested in flying Caribbean Airlines ever. We do not want a voucher, a flight, miles, etc. We want our money back in full! Here is the accounting:

US$68 transfer from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios

US$476 full day at Club Riu Ocho Rios on July 4, 2014.

Total: $551.50

+ $1,416 - the cost of the flights to compensate us for the time, the emotion and the deplorable customer service we endured dealing with your airline.

Grand Total $1,960

I look forward to hearing from you regarding our timely refund."

TAISHA CHAMBERS

taishachambers@gmail.com