Flying LIAT? You Might Want To FedEX Your Luggage!
Time and time again it happens with LIAT, so it must be a deliberate joke.
Nobody, but nobody, is this incompetent.
But they are!
Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism
Pingback: singlepilot.net » Those Loveable Zanny Idiots At LIAT Airlines Still Pulling The Ultimate Practical Joke… “Welcome To Your Vacation - Your Luggage Will Be Here In A Week!” HA HA HA!!!!!
i use Liat all the time never had a prob with luggage yet so i cant comment on this one -would like to hear from others who have had problems
Have travelled LIAT extensively over last 8 years 8 – 10 trips a year… only once lost bag and had it delivered to me within 3 hours….
Baggage problems happen, but how often? We always hear the terrible stories but seldom hear of the many many many times they get it right.
?? well said ..ive never had a prob yet and i use tham once every month .i always have a check on bag and its always been at my destination on my arrival
I travel on a regular basis (about 18 segments a year on Liat alone) and on half of those occasions, particularly while traveling to Guyana, you are guaranteed to have your luggage left behind. When I land in/from a trip to Guyana I just head to the Liat Counter in the arrivals hall and fill out the lost luggage form right away, to beat the crowd. It’s much more than a 50/50 chance that your bag/s will be left behind on this route.
Jim, How many bags on average per person are check in and how heavy are they… I am familiar with Guyana travellers and know that 80% travel with excess baggage… a plane load can only carry a limited amount of baggage weight ( not necessarily number of bags but weight)… on my 2 occasions to Guyana had no problem with luggage.
BFP- I believe your “zanny” is usually spelt “zany.”
Wunnuh still travelling by dat ZR-in-de-sky…LIAT?
Wunnuh en got nuh choice?
You en hear dat BA cud fly you down to T&T on a jet?
half an hour an yuh done!
A friend of mine once was coming in on LIAT and her connections went to the airport to await the plane.
LIAT personnel at the airport said that the plane had not yet left the origination point (Martinique), due to delay and they did not know when it was coming.
Her connections went home to wait for a call and in a half hour after they got home, no more, she arrived by taxi.
The plane had landed right after they left the airport.
But that was a number of years ago.
-and that would be the very same case again today,
of Left Hand not knowing what Right Hand is doing.
Nothing much changes in deze post-Colonial Wess Indeez,
where we only PLAYING Monopoly.
– It’s not real.
Big Daddy gyne some around and pick up us children, lock stock and barrel.
Wess Indyans coulda never run nuthin,
other than into the ground!
Big Daddy gyne soon come around
and pick up us children, lock stock and barrel.
I’d like to weigh in on LIAT and how it is being managed. Not specifically on a baggage issue, since baggage doth not make an airline.
I had the illustrious opportunity to travel on LIAT about a month ago to the date of this writing and it was a fiasco to say the least.
Firstly, the aircraft was an hour late on arrival here at GAIA. When asked about this delay LIAT’s ground representative(s) said that the plane was delayed because Piarco did not release the plane in time and that delayed the flying schedule( I think those evil Trinis still put chains on the propellers when planes overnight there as landing fees ransoms!)
Well, I made a call to a collegue who works with the ATC and was told that the aircraft was not even in Piarco, but was on the ground at the final point of my destination. How cute LIAT. Say any foolishness and we have to believe it now don’t we!
You would think that this was all they could do to infuriate their passengers, but alas, it wasn’t.
On leaving one Caribbean island bound for Barbados via Tobago, the aircraft was about 2 hrs late. On board were Intransit passengers who were required to dis-embark the aircraft for whatever reason and re-board the aircraft at the point of my origin. This only served to intensify the delay already being experienced by passengers some of whom were at the airport since 7:00Am for a LIAT flight which never materialized.(Did I remember to mention that they did not even get a cheese-cutter further less and apology, which really in todays world means nothing more than we are pacifying you!)
Well it gets better. We all boarded and it was drawn to the attention of the flight atendant, that not all immigration cards were filled out and that passengers with cards not filled out had to do so before the aircraft could depart. Three of the four passengers whose names were called were on-board and got down to the business of filling out their cards. A fourth passenger, whom we shall call Mr Plummer was apparently not on board, sleeping or too busy stowing away to be found to fill out his card.
Needless to say, we took to the air eventually and headed to Tobago.
Within 15 mins of flying(how can you not love island hopping!) we were just about there when the captain, or probably his first officer started to do some figure 8’s in the air. The captain subsequently came on the public address system and informed the passengers that there was a fuel situation on the ground and that they would advise shortly( more on this later).
Well shortly came shortly but found us in what appeared to be a 45degree dive which I must say invoked stares and fears within the cabin as many passengers started to ask if the pilots had gone mad. Admittedly, it was a little nerve rattling, but one has to assume that these people have been trained to handle many situations and since LIAT has not had a major crash in how many years? it was not about to happen now.
We reached the ground safely(told you so!) and went to the parking gate. This is when the fun really begins.
The passenger manifest apparently reflected our elusive passanger(remember Mr Plummer) but he was not apparently on the manifest of the Tobago immigration. However it works, Tobago immigration decided to do a head-count with individual checks on all passengers. So, they came onboard and got down to the business of asking everyone their name, and making a check mark against the information provided.
At the end of this event, one passenger in one of the rear-facing seats in the cabin boldly announced.
“I am in place of passenger Plummer!” who was apparently safely back on the gound at our point of origin enjoying his Sunday afternoon rice and peas with baked chicken and string beans while we were desperately looking for him and praying intently for his well-being should he have been curled up in the wheel well of the plane.
Ok, so do you think we are done here? Not a chance. Remember, this is LIAT we are speaking about. The Leave Island Any Time, or Leave It All To… Island carrier.
Aircraft fuelled, back door opened for air(thank you First Officer Roach for your thoughtfulness) we started to board passengers from Tobago.
Suddenly, a young lady, who was seated for the better part of 10 inutes and who could not have been much past 12 years old( but very wise for her years) got up, made her way to the flight attendant, and boldly asserted that she was not in posession of her travel documents.
Yes, I did not stutter here. She was evidently aware that she may have some difficulty when she arrived at GAIA without a shred of evidence about who she was or where she was from, and may not be allowed to proceed any further as a result of such.
Mind you. These are the types of incidents that can grind to a screeching halt, the operations of much larger facilities like Heathrow, JFK, LGA and O’Hare. But in the Caribbean, this is just all in a day’s work.Or should I say, lack of work.
The ruckus which ensued between ground personelle and the flight attendant was somewhat expected, but served no real purpose other than to increase the delay which we were already burdened with, because at the end of the meelee, the young lady was taken off the aircraft sweating bullets like she was toiling over a pot-cover.
You know, I could write a story about this whole incident and still not be complete by the end of the millenium.
Oh, before I forget, that fuel incident I mentioned earlier was about having to beg Tobago to get someone ready to fuel the plane on landing. Apparently this is an issue on Sundays in Tobago as those people don’t want to be left out of the goodies anjoyed by Plummer(remember him?)
This I learned from the captain on dis-embarkation(sorry, I had to ask what the Space Shuttle like dive back to the ground was all about!)
Needless to say, LIAT’s management is grossly INCOMPETENT, and voluntarily so may I add. Things like these do not happen on a day to day basis on Virgin Atlantic, or even British Airways.
When you have a monopoly, as LIAT enjoys, and you have only yourself to anwer to,(ditto) especially on a lucrative set of routes and then compound this by the inability to profitably run those routes, you should loose them.
When regional governments are consistently being asked to pump large cash infusions into an operation which consistently turns in a lost and are then told that these are the times in which we live, essentially saying, take it or leave it, then every man-jack on the board of directors as well as the top 10% of the management needs to have a FULL investigation into their finances launched.
And finally, when the public out-cry becomes deafening so much so that the respective ministers feel it appropriate to say to us “in essence, high prices are here to stay” no matter what factors they use as justification for the existence of these prices and their own existence, the Grim Reaper needs to be called in!
I’ve got a story to tell. It involves lost baggage, but oh so much more as well.
Its starts with an arrival to the Antigua airport 1.5 hours before departure. Because of extremely slow customs checks (which we can’t really blame on Liat) we are nowhere near the front of the line to get boarding passes when they make the call for final bording. Luckily Liat says they are holding the plane.
This information relaxes until we here one of the desk agents utter, “Everyone isn’t going to make it on this flight”. As luck would have it, my newlywed wife and I (as well as another couple) do not have seats on the plane despite travel arrangements made 8 months in advance. According to one of their employees, I did and will always call him ‘Smiley’, they overbook flights “all the the time”. Needless to say neither us nor the other couple live in San Juan and thus have connecting flights that we will be missing due to being bumped.
Obviously we are pretty angry, although we held that back fairly well under the cirumstances. We were told that a “supervisor” would be coming out to see us within the next 15 minutes. 2.5 HOURS later, after much complaining and escalation by us and precious little information being given by them, a supervisor does come out. His name was David Isaac. I will never forget this @$$hole for as long as I live. He continued to make sweeping promises about getting us out of Antigua through other means and making sure we have itineraries to get us all the way home. This is key: He said, more than once, that they would handle all of our connection costs, and rooms if needed to stay overnight, until we arrived home. We told him we did not want to leave Antigua until we had these itineraries all planned out. He agreed that that was smart. We thought we had finally found our champion.
Again we felt somewhat at ease, just waiting for more instruction. After another 1.5 hours David reemerges with a “plan” He has given us boarding passes to a St. Maarten flight where we should be able to connect to Puerto Rico and then get home. The problem? No connections at all are given to us or planned. No tickets, no room accomodations, nothing except a boarding pass to St. Maarten. We told him we didn’t like it, that we needed more than this. He said that he knew that, that they were going to take care of us, and that there was a contact in St. Maarten that we needed to find once we arrived. David promised us that this individual, I’ll never forget this name either, Antoine Benjamin would have all of the remaining details of how and when were to get home, again on Liat’s dollar. We didn’t like it, but our choice was hurry and board this plane (we had about an hour) or stay in Antigua and risk being a standby the next day. Neither sounded appetizing, but if you know the Antigua airport, you know that the options are limited. My thinking was that at least there may be more flights out of St. Maarten.
We board the flight. We arrive in St. Maarten about 45 minutes later and go through customs. Since we don’t know where we are staying yet (remember Mr. Benjamin is supposed to tell us this), the lady at customs won’t give us our passports back. We are now 4 individuals without an identity with no real assurance that we will regain our passports. We elect one person (me) to go to the Liat ticket booth to locate Mr. Benjamin. Remember I had no passport, no ticket, and no real guarantee that Mr. Benjamin even existed. I could have been absolutely stuck in St. Maarten without a passport.
I proceed to the Liat counter and skip the line since I need a man that is not at the front desk anyway. “May I please speak to Mr. Antoine Benjamin, Mr. David Isaac from Antigua told me to contact him when I arrived here.” The girl behind the desk was friendly enough, “He’s not working today.” I flew off the handle, “Wait, he’s not here, hasn’t been here all day? Can I speak to your supervisor immediately?” She basically says no, that he’s not available right now and that I’ll have to wait.
I’m really not proud of what I did next but I slammed my fist down on the desk and screamed at her about what had happened, that I was without a passport and that there were three other people on the other side waiting for me to help them. She did not take to the screaming very well, nor I guess should she have. After all, it wasn’t her fault. She ignored me for a few minutes but then made a call what she called a “duty manager” named Anthony Brown. This whole time I’m stewing about David Isaac. He completely lied to us, directly to our faces. Not only had he not taken care of any more details, but the man he told us to contact wasn’t even at work that day. He either never even called him, or knew he wouldn’t be there and told us to look anyway. Regardless, spending $40 bucks to send us on a 45 minute airplane ride just to get us out of his hair, with no intention of helping us all while smiling and nodding at us with promises to “take care of us” is the worst I have been treated by any company in my entire life, and probably ranks right up there with some of the worst ever.
I meet Mr. Brown. He has apparently been in contact with David Isaac….this calmed me down a little and made me feel a little guilty about my previous feelings. At least he had talked to SOMEBODY. Mr. Brown takes me back to the other side, informing me that they will put us up in a hotel in St. Maarten and get us on the flight tomorrow to San Juan. “What about our connections,” I ask. Blank stares. “He didn’t tell you to figure out connections from San Juan?”. More blank stares. Apparently David Isaac had instructed only to get us to San Juan and nothing else. I told Mr. Brown that this wasn’t right, that they were going to “take care of us”, that we should go back to his office right now and call David back. He agrees to do so after we get our passports back. You can’t imagine what a relief it is to have that little black book back when you have felt like an individual placed in the realm of not-persons. Mr. Brown agrees to call David and transfer it down to the counter so we can both talk to him and smooth this out.
Meanwhile, while I was at the Liat counter throwing temper tantrems, my wife is filling out a claims report for my suitcase which has been left on the plane as it continued on to another destination. Brand new suitcase, with my suit, shoes and a lot of other personal items is missing. Right now my thoughts that I would get that bag are resting comfortably at about 0% given the operational ability of this airline.
We head back to the counter to the same girl, icicle daggers in her eyes this time, asking if we can call Mr. Brown. She says no, that he is working on making the final arrangements for our flight tomorrow, our room that night, and trying to contact David. She glowers, “Go sit over there and we will be in touch as soon as we have more information.” Great, the last time this happened, we waited for four hours with hardly a word from anyone.
Luckily, this time it would be much quicker. We waited approximately an hour. Mr. Brown returned. He could get in touch with neither Mr. Isaac or his boss, the phantom himself, Mr. Benjamin. They ‘weren’t picking up’. No kidding, I wonder why. Maybe because it would cost their airline a lot more money if they did. Mr. Brown had vouchers for taxi rides, a 25 dollar meal voucher, and vouchers for a hotel stay at Cavavanserai (sp?). He also had four paper tickets. They looked they had been around since 1980 and with Mr. Brown’s chicken scratch handwriting (yes, handwriting), we were a little uneasy about the other airline honoring them. Exhausted, we take the cab and arrive at the hotel. Excellent service at this hotel, but to be fair, its kinda a dump. Showers were not clean, air conditioning didn’t work in our first room (they were quick to reassign us to a new room though), and it just had a general ‘unsafe’ feeling. I feel bad ragging on, the service was good, but it is just one more thing to stack up on the way Liat treats their customers.
Other than a brief period at a restaurant where the two couples got to know eachother better and had some wine, the evening was pretty uneventful. We knew we had to arrive at the airport the next morning at 5:30 am. We do, and the other airline (operated by American Airlines) is great. Honor our tickets without problem, get us through quickly, no problems. One more stop at the Liat counter to see if there is any sign of my bag…nada. We proceed to the gate, sure that my bag will never be seen again. However, while waiting to board, a Liat employee comes over and asks if I had lost my bag. I had a true ‘Eureka’ moment. She asked for my name and said, get this, “There is a large amount of unclaimed baggage that arrived, and I can search through it to see if I can find your suitcase.” My hopes were somewhat dashed (a large amount?) but I gave her my information. She returned in 20 minutes, no bag in sight, “Sorry, I looked at all the baggage I could, but there is a lot on the bottom that I couldn’t get to. I’ll have to have someone help me move it later and take a look.” Wow! I would have put up more of a fight, but we were just about to board to San Juan and I was NOT going to miss this flight.
Still no sign of my bag. I have emailed and called (no answer) but have not had any response, despite their promise to send me my bag to my address.
In case you are wondering, probably not after this long entry, because we went through a travel agent, she was able to get in touch with Delta and have them honor our tickets. Finally some luck, right. I feel very indebted to our travel agent, without her I don’t think we would have had the leverage or time to work out the deal. I also feel very thankful to Delta, they had no reason to honor our tickets, but did so anyway.
I’ll let you guys know if my bag ever shows up!
Long story short (too late), don’t fly Liat…ever. Unless you want to be treated like garbage, pay the extra $200 and go with American Airlines. I’m telling my travel agent to do the same. I’ll let you guys know if my bag ever shows up!
I am a regular visitor to St. Lucia in May for the Jazz Festival. Every year I have problems with Liat. I recently read the attached review of the festival… which airline do you think they are referring too..?
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