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[Letter] Travel Span did not make a good first impression

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[Letter] Travel Span did not make a good first impression

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Dec 18, 2013

http://www.stabroeknews.com/2013/opinio ... mpression/

[Letter] Travel Span did not make a good first impression
December 18, 2013

Dear Editor,

The announcement that Travel Span was re-entering the Guyana-New York travel market filled me with a sense of optimism that we would have the type of service that would make airline travel less challenging. The disrespect and shabby treatment to which we are subjected by Caribbean Airlines is well documented and does not need repeating. The route that Fly Jamaica uses is not attractive to me. Hence Travel Span seemed an appropriate alternative for me.

I was booked to travel on flight number V2 502, scheduled to depart the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at 5.30 pm on December 14, 2013. I realized that I was in for rough times after it took over an hour to check in and the baggage tags they gave us were not sticking on the suitcases. Once I had cleared Immigration and entered the departure lounge I was called to identify my luggage and replace the tags that had fallen off. After addressing the problems with my luggage, I returned to the departure lounge and realized that the scheduled departure time had passed. I then asked the ticketing agent at the gate what time the flight was leaving. Her response was, “Didn’t they tell you at the check-in counter that the flight was delayed and was leaving at 8pm?” I replied that no one had told me anything, and besides the flight information screen in the lounge was showing the flight was at 5.30 and on time.

My dissatisfaction with the airline was compounded by the behaviour of the airline representatives and their responses when I told them that I had a 1.30am bus connection out of New York City to Washington DC, and I needed to make a couple of calls to make alternative arrangements to get to my destination. The Supervisor informed me that I could only get a local call. I asked to speak to the Manager and was told that one will be available to speak with me. After an hour had elapsed and no manager appeared, I approached a member of the security staff, a Ms Bailey, as the airline representatives had disappeared from the gate. The young lady escorted me back to the check-in counter where I met a Manager. I related my situation to him and his response was that all he was concerned with right now was getting the flight crew on the aircraft and he would check with me later on in the lounge. In the meantime Ms Bailey continued to assist me by asking the Ramp Manager if he could use his “magic jack” and give me a call. These two individuals went beyond their call of duty to assist me. I would like to publicly thank them for their assistance.

The aircraft was almost finished boarding when I noticed a guy who appeared to be a Travel Span executive, I approached him and he gave me a call to the US so I could make alternative arrangements to get home. While I was making the call the first Manager I had spoken to approached me and said that he had made arrangements with one of the flight attendants to offer any assistance I may have needed in the US. He never introduced me to the attendant.

Flight V2 502 finally left Guyana at about 8.45 pm and landed at JFK at about 1.20 am, Sunday, December 15. This should have been the inaugural flight of Travel Span’s return to the Guyana-New York market, but this experience has left a very bitter taste in my mouth. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression and Travel Span has a lot of work to do to bring its customer relations up to acceptable international standards. Leaving Caribbean Airlines for Travel Span is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Yours faithfully,
Donald Ainsworth

Editor’s note
We are sending a copy of this letter to Travel Span for any comment they might wish to make.

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