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Airline staff threatened by stranded passengers

Airline staff threatened by stranded passengers


Frustration boiled over into physical aggression to the staff of Caribbean Star Airlines when passengers were told that their flights were delayed and eventually cancelled on Monday, July 17, at the E.T. Joshua Airport.

According to reports, one passenger climbed unto the luggage scale and refused to move off the weighing device while another fought with the customer service representatives.{{more}}

The lines built up. With no air conditioning, since the cooling fans were not functioning; the hot July sun temperature could be felt in the congested building, causing many of the customers to become more irate.

One angry passenger, a Cancer Research Scientist residing in England who came home for Vincy Carnival, expressed her frustration to Searchlight Newspaper.

She lashed out, “I am very disappointed because I was supposed to leave since 11 a.m. and there has been no progression- only a backlog of passengers. The airport is overcrowded, I’m hot and sweaty and I can’t miss my connecting flight with Virgin Airlines in Barbados to go to the UK.

“The service has been poor. When I came down I couldn’t get my luggage for three days and there was no compensation. Now I might not leave on time to catch my connecting flight, and I really need to get back to work!” she exclaimed.

In response to the flight delays and cancellations Technical Director of Vincy Aviation Services, agents for Caribbean Star and Sun Airlines, Ricardo Drayton, admitted that the airline has been experiencing technical problems.

He noted that since Thursday, July 13, Caribbean Star and Sun were experiencing serious delays, that led to flight cancellations because of equipment break down.

Drayton also pointed out that the demand on the services grew because passengers were visiting the various festivals in neighbouring Caribbean territories.

He explained, “Many of the festivals have been clashing, namely the St. Kitts Music Festival, Vincy Mas and St. Lucia Carnival. As a result we had a strain on the system, and we still had to carry out the full maintenance schedule for the aircrafts.”

The Technical Director continued, “Vincy Aviation Services and Caribbean Star and Sun Airlines would like to apologise to the travelling public for the inconveniences they have experienced as a result of these delays. We are working with Antigua Flight Operations to get all flights back on track and we hope that all operations will be on schedule and flowing smoothly.”

However, Drayton also admitted that there was a change in the reservation system and believed that this also has contributed to the mayhem. He outlined that some reservations from the old system were not carried over to the newer system and as a result some passengers turned up with confirmed tickets, but were not confirmed in the reservation system. He said to curb the problem of the over sale of flights, additional flights were brought in to clear the backlog.

Meanwhile, Drayton is appealing to future passengers to be calm so future airline problems could be brought under control.

The Caribbean Star representative stressed, “We had situations where passengers actually got physical with staff and we had to call in the authorities. We would like to remind customers to refrain from getting physical with any staff member. It is a violation of the law and we will have no choice if this re-occurs but to take action against any passenger who attempts, in any way, to hit or abuse any staff member. The staff is there to help and under these difficult circumstances, we will fix the situation and each passenger will be able to travel, but we cannot allow anyone to be abusive.”

The Technical Director of Vincy Aviation Services, agents for Caribbean Star and Sun Airlines also commended his staff for remaining calm, even when the situation became threatening.

He applauded them for maintaining their professionalism and for ensuring that each passengers was taken care of.”