Caribbean Airlines direct flights from Kingston to Havana fail to take off

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Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_Airlines
Web site: http://www.caribbean-airlines.com/
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bimjim
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Caribbean Airlines direct flights from Kingston to Havana fail to take off

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Dec 14, 2019

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead ... -fail-take

Grounded!
Caribbean Airlines direct flights from Kingston to Havana fail to take off
Andre Williams/Staff Reporter
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Caribbean Airlines pulled the plug on yesterday’s launch of direct flights from Kingston to Havana, angering Cuba-bound travellers who complained that they were not notified in time about the change.

Dionne Ligoure, manager of corporate communications, declined to give details on the reason behind the freeze on flights, citing only that the airline had done an operational review and “decided to, for now, hold on the service”.

Ligoure said that the scheduled route had been only announced – “not installed” – and that personnel were trying to expedite the process for resolving the grouses of affected travellers.

“Why you are getting feedback today is that the route was due to begin operating today. That’s why this has come up,” Ligoure told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon.

“Other persons for whom we had contact details were immediately contacted once there was a decision not to launch the service.”

Pressed for details on the about-turn by Caribbean Airlines, Ligoure said that “those flights would have shut down about at least two and a half weeks ago, but there were only a few saleable flights available”.

Our news team gathered that non-stop flights had been advertised via caribbeanairlines.com for as low as US$390 per round trip with passengers allowed up to two bags free.

The service, which had the tag line ‘Cuba We Haffi Touchdown’, was scheduled to begin operation from November 6, 2019 and offered direct flights to Havana twice weekly.

REFUNDS OPTIONAL

Ligoure said that refunds would be available although other options were on offer.

“Systems are in place to deal with the customers, because not every customer will have the same desire, so, in fact, some persons may not want a refund, so we can, in fact, only deal with the persons and their particular request, once we have made contact with them or they have made contact with us,” she told The Gleaner.

The communications manager sought to play down the number of travellers affected, saying they “are minimal” and “quite small”. She, however, failed to provide any data.

“We will deal with them in an expeditious manner, realising that some level of inconvenience would have caused so they will be dealt with, I assure you of that,” she said.

Ligoure said that persons were not notified sooner, partly because they may have booked through third parties. The airline said personnel were posted at airports in order to notify persons who could not be contacted about the scrapped departure.

Cuba is one of 22 destinations to which the carrier flies.

Caribbean Airlines flies twice weekly to Cuba out of Trinidad and Tobago, with connections to other destinations. That route has been operational since January 13, 2018.

Cuba has been hit by a downturn in visitor arrivals in 2019, according to a report from the country’s National Statistics Office.

For the first time since 2017, arrivals of Americans have fallen by five to six per cent, shrinking to 436,000, up to September. Cuban and Russian travellers were the only demographic that recorded an uptick in trips.

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Re: Caribbean Airlines direct flights from Kingston to Havana fail to take off

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Dec 14, 2019

BWIA did this before, in my memory.

I was on the ground in Hewanorra, St. Lucia, and a crowd of people were milling around in the terminal. When I asked what the fuss was, they said they had tickets for a BWIA flight from there to New York that morning, but that they had arrived at the airport to find the counters and offices locked up. After departure time staff showed up and told them the stop in St. Lucia had been cancelled in Trinidad. Nobody called and notified the joining passengers in St. Lucia.

BWIA used to do this to Barbados and Antigua, too. Despite taking bookings and accepting payment for confirmed reservations ex Barbados and/or Antigua, BWIA would take all comers in Piarco, Trinidad, and if they had a good load they would simply bypass the intermediate stop/s. Back in those days it was a great deal harder to make changes to tickets than it is these days.

I do remember being in Antigua one day and the roadway alongside the terminal was full of people. When I asked, I was told they were looking for the flight they were supposed to be on - and sure enough, within a few minutes it passed overhead, clearly identifiable (even at altitude) as a BWIA aircraft.

I also don't understand why the wishy-washy attitude to Cuba. BWIA/Caribbean Airlines could have been serving Cuba profitably from the Caribbean for literally DECADES, but all they can seem to be able to think about is New York, Miami or Toronto.

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