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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

What can you say about LIAT?


I was tempted last week to write a stinging article about LIAT, and the "terrorism" one suffers in flying with them in the region. Admitted, I am not a frequent flyer with LIAT, but had the sad experience of using the airline over two days to make a return trip between Barbados and Antigua. My departure from Barbados was one hour late, and my return to Barbados was two hours late. The apologies sounded hollow and people's reactions at the airports before the announced delays and after suggest that this is a common occurrence. This is a huge cost on travellers and the economy of this region.

I am going to put my intended article on hold for the moment, pending a response from LIAT's customer service regarding details of the company's performance over the past few years. I will admit that I am not optimistic about a reply, because the e-mail I sent from LIAT's website bounced back with a message that it could not be delivered. I hope that this is not how the company deals with customer complaints.

I have just seen the recent reports about new investment plans for the company, as well as the threatened LIAT pilots' strike. For the latest possible tail spin for the company, see an article in today's Barbados Free Press, written by Adrian Loveridge. I used the BFP picture, and hope that is ok with them. It seems so fitting.

My contribution to the discussion is to ask what is in a name? The way that a company is mocked tells you something about what people truly feel. I may be wrong, but companies that seem to be on track with customers are referred to with few comic cracks. So, given that my one day episode with LIAT, I would love to hear some of the "affectionate" terms used for it, I share here the better ones, which I picked up in one day's flying and hope to hear from others more endearing terms.

Leave Island Any Time
Luggage In Another Terminal
Lost between Antigua and Trinidad.

9 comments:

Ann (MobayDP) said...

Ahhh yes..Liat. That great source of shame, anger, laughter & anxiety for so many West Indian and Non- West Indian travelers alike!

Leave Island Any Time...I love it! :)

Dennis Jones said...

Liat gets a lot of criticism, which is deserved in terms of what paying customers have to deal with. Air Jamaica should also come in for similar criticism. Too often, I have had to survive 2-3 hour delays at Mo Bay waiting to connect to Kingston. But no longer. I will now use when possible the flights with Caribbean Airlines. They seem to adopt a very strict on time departure policy, so strict in fact that customers sometimes suffer by being left behind if they are too late (less than one hour) for check in.

Dennis Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liza said...

I recently travelled from Trinidad to Barbados, and back again, with LIAT and found the service to be excellent. Shame the customs officials put an end to my happy, relaxed mood though when they decided to stop us as my 3 year old daughter was wearing a very tiny camouflage skirt. They made her take it off there and then, in the airport and searched all of our suitcases, taking away a small camouflage nightie away from me ... anyway, I digress, LIAT was very good this time.

Floyd A. Emmons said...

If Liat's attitude to it's passengers is reflective of the way it intends to carry out its duties, then I suggest it takes a serious review of its objectives and performance to date. Liat's staff appears to have no customer service skills whatsoever and, as for lost or delayed luggage, you count yourself extremely lucky if it arrives on your flight when you get to your destination. As far as I am concern, at the moment, it is a complete sham of an "airline". Please, somebody, we need a credible alternative to Liat unless they get their act together.

Dissatisfied customer said...

LIAT service sucks!

Another dissatisfied customer said...

Travelled with LIAT on Jan 08 and same same same story. Luggage lost, no information whatsoever, no customer service, incompeteny all around!!

Another Angry Customer said...

... and when LIAT lose your luggage, not only do they make no effort to find it again, but they won't provide you with official confirmation that they've stopped looking for it. What this means is that your insurance company won't pay you a dime in compensation. SO, not only does the wretched airline lose all your belongings, they prevent you from claiming on your insurance, simply because they can't be bothered. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Can it get any worse? said...

Well, I have come online just to look for a comment page regarding this so called airline. I had the pleasure of flying from San Juan to St.Vincent, only to find out that my bags never boarded the aircraft. As a matter of fact, out of a flight sat with 50 passengers, only two received their luggage. LIAT, never made any effort to get our bags, knowing that half of the flight was in a wedding the next day. O I have so much about this airline its a shame. Their scamming passengers by bumping luggage for Cargo, why I say that? A few others that were in the party, came a day or two before us and the exact same thing happened to them. But when you go to get on the plane for departure you see the cargo hold of the plane full to capacity, but not with your bag.
So basically half of the wedding was in the same clothes they came to ST Vincent in. This is just one of the issues I had, but I feel this is was the most heated part of the whole trip. Funny, I went to get a picture taken in front of the plane when we first landed, I swear the security wanted to shoot us because of it. Why? I guess your not allowed to take pictures of a plane. Yeah right, I payed $519 bucks for that flight, that doesnt have running water, the bathroom smells like the corner of a bar parking lot.OMG. St Vincent I love you, beautiful never seen a place like it, but you may want to start investing in another airline to provide service. I hope boats go their because I swear that LIAT would never get a red cent from me again.