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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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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fly Naked, Fly Air Jamaica...To The World

I am convinced after a few readings now that the revised luggage policies for economy travellers just issued by Air Jamaica show that drug and alcohol abuse can do terrible things to the mind (see report in Jamaica Observer). How else can I hope to understand what must have been going through some executive's mind to dream up this new nightmare for travellers from Grenada (and perhaps Barbados) to New York? The new policy is simple:
  • Passengers travelling on these routes in Lovebird Economy Class may check one bag free of charge, and pay US$25 to check a second bag. Lovebird Executive Class passengers may check two bags free of charge, with a US$25 fee for a third checked bag.
  • The new policy comes into effect tomorrow for the New York/Grenada passengers and on July 2, 2009 for the New York/Barbados passengers, subject to the approval of the Government of Barbados.
  • Travellers are guaranteed delivery of the free baggage allowance on the same flight on which they travel. All other bags will be transported within seven days, and must be collected from the airport. The status of these bags may be tracked online at www.AirJamaica.com/baggage to determine when they may be collected.
As Jamaicans would say, "Wha de warra wrong wid yu?"

Is this a misprint, misstatement, or did someone have one Red Stripe or Red Bull too many? It's not funny, but scary. You pay extra for the bag NOT to be on your flight, then pay again to go to the airport to go get it when and if it arrives! On that 'if', what is delayed luggage when the airline promises to not deliver it with you?

Like many, I love the Lovebird service and its complimentary champagne taste alike; and the Jamaican food is Irie. But will any of that compensate for the added hassle of having to trek back to JFK to try to get some luggage? That could take another half to whole day. Maybe they just don't want to admit that they are leaving the travel business and want to push away passengers. As Air Jam has not yet started to charge for oversize passengers, maybe the secret is to dress with a few extra layers--know wha' I mean?--so that when you reach a-forin you will have something else to wear. I can imagine some going that route.

Someone asked if this is a new low for lack of service and charging for the added inconveniences especially from the company that started with a mission to make the passenger’s experience exceptionally charming?Once upon a time Air Jam You provided fashion shows in-flight featuring tropical resort wear for the on board entertainment of their Caribbean-bound passengers. Now, if they do that, the passengers may just rip off the clothes to make sure they have something wear later.

A fellow travel blogger was going to check with Jim Grace, President & CEO of Insure My Trip to see if there is a policy to cover delayed luggage when the airline tells you in advance that your luggage is going to be delayed! That really introduces a conundrum! If you know your luggage is going to be delayed up to seven days before you leave home, could that inconvenience be covered with delayed baggage insurance as a pre-existing condition?

This is even crazier if you try to figure out what is supposed to happen with clearing US Customs for the 2nd+ bag. Surely, the US Department of Homeland Security is not going to waive the requirements (what a loophole that could be), so where will they do the checks? Will the airport have a new hangar for unclaimed luggage? Or imagine a parent with infant and two bags and a stroller, which to check first? Then if the 2nd plus items don't arrive for a week what will it be, wheeling child around with no clothes or carting child around with no wheels?

What if your luggage cannot be through ticketed to your final destination, which is not NY/JFK? Do, you have to book a connecting flight after the bags arrive?

I don’t think alcohol alone could be blamed for this nutty set of ideas. It must have been ganja!

1 comment:

Janice said...

Crazy fi true!