Same Ole Story On The Air Bridge

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Mass Chaos And Gross Disrespect. Those were some of the words used by commuters on the air bridge to describe the service, or lack thereof, offered by Caribbean Airlines over the last weekend. Irate passengers at Crown Pointe especially, were incensed as they were greeted with numerous cancelled and delayed flights to Piarco. One family detailed the further indignity of having to deal with ‘obnoxious and grumpy staff’ at the service counter who didn’t seem concerned about their plight. Another passenger, travelling with a young child also felt insulted by employees of the airline who refused to respond to her questions after waiting for almost two hours in the line to check in for her flight.

In a news release on Monday, Caribbean Airlines said it suffered a disruption in service but didn’t state the nature of the problem. While that is obvious, passengers who had to book tickets months in advance deserve a proper explanation from the airline for its failure to fulfil its obligations. Wouldn’t simple communication go a long way at appeasing agitated passengers as opposed to annoyance and rolled eyes? Here we have hundreds of holiday makers who chose to spend their time on the sister isle, only to have it end on a sour note not just because of disrupted flights but more so, due to customer service representatives who still don’t seem to understand their jobs.

The other worrying component in this perpetual confusion on the air bridge is that a foreign airline has been contracted this year to relieve the pressure of additional demand that comes with the August vacation period. Aircraft and crew from Danish Air have been operating multiple daily flights between the islands to accommodate this annual spike in travel. But even that doesn’t seem to provide any remedy to the passengers who have no real, viable alternative for air travel. The option of using the sea bridge is just as upsetting at this time, as there are reports of similar confusion at the ports despite the acquisition of a new vessel.

What’s the solution to the problem then? A new boat isn’t helping much on the sea bridge. Contracting a foreign airline and crew to operate multiple, additional flights daily has not solved the problem of delays and cancellations on the air bridge. And staff at Caribbean Airlines, obviously frustrated by the recurring struggle, are showing their discontent to equally irritated passengers. Honesty and diplomacy could never hurt. Caribbean Airlines needs avoid being vague, and level with us. Say what the problem is and who knows, the angry passenger might show some understanding. We feel though, that it’s time to open up the air bridge to competition. Only then might CAL pull up its socks.