Having just paid an incredible US$459 for return air travel between Barbados and St. Maarten, a total of 840 miles with Caribbean Airlines, I was attracted by the colourful LIAT ‘ads’ appearing in the local press headlined ‘get a hair raising deal. 40% off all (h) air fares’. Conditions clearly state that the last booking day was today (18th May) and travel must take place between May 30 and 7 June, 2007. So I then tried to book ONE seat through their website on any of their destinations.
Below is a list of the lowest available airfare on any flights operating on those particular days. Airfares are from Barbados, return, shown in US$ and include all applicable taxes:
St. Kitts $285
St. Vincent $111
St. Juan $394
Santo Domingo $539
St. Maarten $310
St. Croix $395
St. Lucia $100
St. Thomas $395
Please note: The ‘ads’ clearly state ‘40% off all (h)air fares’.
The only real ‘bargain’ appears to be travelling to St. Lucia where ironically enough their Minister of Tourism, Allen Chastanet, has just announced that American Eagle will shortly be operating a Barbados/St. Lucia/Barbados service. So is it mere co-incidence that airfares have been pitched lower on this route, and if more competition was introduced on other routes then lower airfares would become the norm?
18 May 2007
At a time when CSME is being touted by our Caribbean leaders as the way forward we must admit that the free movement of people is integral to CSME being successful. Why is it that the airline which is owned by the islands of the Caribbean cannot design an efficient solution which does not act as a barrier to the objective of CSME? We continue to be boggle at inefficient decision making which LIAT attracts. It appears that as a Caribbean people we will continue to be fragmented as a people while the “fuzzy duddies” who lead us continue to be happen with being a large fish in a small pond!