Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 9, 2011

CA vs. Redjet

** Update: In an amazing coincidence (I swear that I started to write this on Friday and only posted on Saturday at 11:00 without the benefit of seeing the newspaper) the Guardian ran a similar story concerning the RedJet issue:

http://www.guardian.co.tt/editorial/2011/07/09/deal-redjet-liftoff-urgency 

**

After all the fanfare by Redjet over two months ago, I, like the rest of the Caribbean people, are still waiting for their approvals to come through so that more choices are available for inter-island travel.

As far as I am concerned, CA and it’s then line Minister were caught flat-footed when competition landed on their doorstep and they still don’t want to admit that that is the real issue. The recent ole talk by our PM in St. Kitts about a fast ferry between the islands was also a manifestation of dealing with the competition from Redjet…

So while Ramesh Lutchmedial of the Civil Aviation Authority speaks of safety issues and ‘paper work’ (at one time parroted also by Jack Warner), let me tell you what safety means to me. Safety is a quality of service issue and if the service attitude of CA employees is any indication of their quality standard, then we are in the air safely by the Grace of God…

Hear my lil story this week… I have a close relative that I wanted to bring out of Guyana for a week or two as he has not been here for a while and my family wanted to see him.

No worries, I booked a ticket online and trotted up to Piarco to pay as they have a policy about credit card payments for tickets bought for third party travellers and I didn’t want him to experience any problems while checking in.

When I got there and stood in line for about 10 minutes (plenty staff, only two working on ticketing counter while the rest milled about aimlessly) I was told that I was doing the right thing, but I’ll have to pay VAT…

To make a long story short, I refused, paid my $6 parking fee and left. Went home, sat down behind the computer and waited for my booking to lapse as it wasn’t paid for, did the transaction and went to Port of Spain the next day to ‘verify it was a bona-fide transaction’.

Needless to say, at Nicholas Towers it was also a long wait with more empty chairs behind the ticket counters than in the waiting area. When I finally got a print out (showing ticket was paid for in New York) I left with some assurance that my relative won’t get hassled at Timehri airport…

Now I still travel with CA because for all their faults I prefer to give them my money rather than AA. I do, however, see the very visible decline in service since the sudden departure of Philip Saunders as CEO. Both him and his predecessor, Peter Davies did an excellent job re-crafting BWee into CA. As soon as the Trinis takeover, it all started crumbling…

We wait patiently for real competition to keep them on their toes again…

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