Complaint Letter To LIAT Airline

Submitted by Corey and Karen Burns
Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

It is with great disappointment that I have to express my disapproval with Liat and how Liat conducts business. Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from A to B quickly as possible. I find it preposterous that Liat can just change a flight plan while customers have already boarded the aircraft (on a direct flight I might add).

My wife and I were departing from our honeymoon in Antigua on Monday, October 28th, 2013 and were on Liat flight # 362 from Antigua to Puerto Rico which was a direct flight to San Juan. The flight was delayed of course (“island time”) however once on the aircraft an announcement was made that we were stopping in St. Kitts on our way to San Juan, but not five minutes later we were told that we were now going south to Dominica (total opposite way than San Juan).  We arrived in Dominica at which time a grand total of 8 passengers boarded the plane.  We were then told that we had to wait for a fuel truck, which was not ready when we arrived in Dominica.  We ended up waiting on the tarmac for over an hour with no water, no food, and no air conditioning. I used to work in the airline industry and had that happened in Canada, PEOPLE WOULD BE FIRED!!! Numerous passengers asked for information about when we would be taking off and when we would be landing in San Juan as every passenger on the plane had a connecting flight to catch.  None of Liat’s customer service agents would give us a straight answer. We finally left Dominica sometime after 1:30 pm, over an hour after we should have LANDED in San Juan.

Needless to say, nearly every passenger (including my wife and I) on the flight missed their connection in San Juan due to Liat’s lack of respect for customers further travel arrangements.  As a result, we did not get on our previously booked flight to New York City.  Luckily Jet Blue (who conducts business properly) were able to get us on a later flight to New York City. However, because we had to take a later flight to New York City, we missed our connecting flight to Buffalo and our waiting car rental. We were then forced to spend the night at a hotel near the JFK airport in New York City and take an early morning flight the next day to Buffalo.  I would also add that we had to spend time and effort re-arranging our car rental from Buffalo back into Canada.

As a result of the unprofessional and inconsiderate business practices of Liat, my wife and I had to pay out of pocket over $200 USD that we did not plan/budget for.  We were considerably disappointed by our experience with Liat airline, especially considering we were returning from our HONEYMOON!  We will not be flying Liat in the future and we will advise anyone we come into contact with also not to give Liat any business.

I am aware (from working in the airline industry) that when experiencing long delays, other reputable airlines give their customers vouchers for food and pay hotel accommodations, particularly when overnight stays were not part of the original itinerary.

20 thoughts on “Complaint Letter To LIAT Airline

  1. didn’t the ST LUCIA GOVT now give lip service guarantee to LIAT in the tune of 4million dollars, needless to say only verbally. as the ST.lucia PM was quick to point out. a “just in case guarantee” whatever that mean

  2. The worst part of all this is that they just don’t care!!

    I complained about the same crappy service from St Maarten to Bdos, to a friend who is a senior pilot on LIAT. The response: “so next time take a boat because we got you by the short and curlies”

    I can’t say any more. Too unreal.

  3. Jean Holder got to go

    Liat must be removed from Antigua and brought to Barbados which is a more natural hub for the eastern caribbean

    Freundel Stuart needs to get off his boxy and take some action with this critical airline.He needs to read the riot act to a few government and staff members.

    Desmond browne that incompetent jamaican communication ‘specialist’ needs to go

    As a last resort maybe Barbados needs to give up its shareholding in Liat which seems to be like a bottomless pit with no end in sight of any solution or improvement.

  4. i stopped traveling LIAT over 20 years ago, their service has gotten much worse, and i still manage to get where i want to go, they certainly don’t have me by the short and curlies.

    • @Well Well

      Examine your last comment, how is it constructive for Caribbean people who have no alternative? Stop locating positions in a personal realm.

  5. Sounds like you have just been to Brazil, all that aside does anyone think the pilots the ground crew the agents the ticket takers etc want to be late or screw up the schedule flying is not a perfect science just think of all the stuff that goes wrong with the average car. I have been delayed many many times with air Canada, it is frustrating but if is warranted weather, mechanical problem , waiting for a pilot, after a night out at harry;s bar, well that is okay

  6. For the first 7 months of 2013 ‘Caricom’ arrivals into Barbados have declined every single month with an overall drop of 7,678 persons.

    I would like to include August, September and October figures but the Barbados Statistical Service still has not posted them on their website.

  7. David………….is there no other airline in the Caribbean?……….i thought there was Caribbean Airlines or CAL, i use the airline all the time (don’t they travel to other Caribbean islands?) what about schooners, i have not taken one in years, so i cannot vouch for or against….is there no other mode of transportation except lousy LIAT, and if there is no other mode of transportation, whose fault is that? by the way, i bet you if wanted to get to any island in the Caribbean i will successfully do so WITHOUT LIAT.

  8. @ Adrian Loveridge | November 20, 2013 at 8:17 AM |

    Has the government sorted out the Direct Tourism Services that would be entitled to the reduced rate of 7.5% that should have taken effect from October? Why is it taking so long?
    What’s wrong with these people with all the hot air talk about improving business facilitation and productivity?
    Wasn’t this issue ‘thought through’ before becoming a budgetary proposal? What kind of cowboy fiscal management is the country having to put up with?

    Is the MoF getting heat from the IADB and IMF about all the concessions, waivers and fiscal giveaways and needs to back away and out of these ‘freebie’ proposals that would clearly cause the fiscal deficit to deteriorate unless countervailing revenue raising measures or further expenditure cuts are implemented tout de suite?

    It must be noted that the revenue collection from VAT receipts for fiscal year 2013-14 as shown in the Estimates is based on a 17.5% rate applicable to the DTS sector.

  9. Miller, as I understand talks have been ongoing with the BHTA and they are awaiting a revised ‘definition’ of those tourism partners who qualify (in the Government eyes) for the reduced rate of VAT. I believe it will now be implemented on 1st December.
    I cannot imagine how implementation of this could have been handled any worse. ‘We’ turned what could have been a major tourism market advantage into a public relations nightmare.

  10. David | November 20, 2013 at 12:39 PM |

    @Well Well

    What routes CA ply?

    Obviously CA plies the routes i travel, that is why i asked you if there were no schooners since Federal Palm and Maple given to the Caribbean by Canada back in the 60’s, or Selby’s schooners that has taken up the slack since those times to ferry people across the Caribbean, i was hearing about windjammer, don’t know how accurate, i have a friend who goes from island to island by yacht when he needs to get across the Caribbean, if the governments of the Caribbean are careless, uncaring and useless to the needs of the travelers, the electorates need to do something, if the governments cared about the people, they would put systems in place instead of relying on one shitty little puddle jumping airline LIAT that is less than useless…….if not, again, whose fault, certainly not mine..

  11. I was at Melville Hall once awaiting a late evening LIAT flight to Barbados via St Lucia. The departure gate was virtually unmanned, a plane landed and as we made our way to the exit, someone mentioned that this particular flight was going to Antigua. The plane soon departed, and ten minutes later there was another landing. Thinking that this was the plane to Barbados, we made our way once more to the departure gate,only to discover that this was the same plane which had taken off some 10 minutes ago. It had returned to drop off a passenger who ,mistakenly ,got in at Melville Hall , thinking that it was the flight to Barbados.
    Eventually the flight to Barbados, skipped its stop in St Lucia.
    What a way to run an airline

  12. what become of Kamla’s Ferry Service?
    I remember when she first became the PM of Trinidad & Tobago she boldy say she will be making ferry arrangements to Barbados and other islands soon.

    Since then the Trinidad Ferry Terminal and the Tobago Ferry Terminal have been upgraded and open yesterday.

  13. Bubbler….Kamla’s head is hot right now, she is skating close to the edge with an election that it is possible she can lose…if she does not do the ferry service, i am sure the next PM will.

  14. @Common sense is not common

    The CEO ag (Julie Reifer Jones)is from Barbados previously the CFO, The Director or Customer Service and Experience who is in charge of Scheduling, Airports, Flight Attendants, Customer Service, Marketing and Promotions, Revenue or Yield Management (Lisa Parris-Rudder) is from Barbados. What else need to be controlled by Barbados for it to work right?

  15. From the comments I’d like to ask if you live in or know about Barbados… where the taxes are sky-high, the bureaucracy is even higher, the Civil Aviation Department is at half-strength and a mere joke, and civil aviation in Barbados is so pitiful the island has ICAO Category Two rating.

    Which means the aviation laws and oversight has been judged inadequate for the sustenance of business aviation – airlines. Barbados has become so full of it that the hills are brown. And the FAA has told Barbados not to call for another ICAO Category review for another ten years, stop wasting their time.

    But you just want to move LIAT to Barbados?

    There is a much greater technical impact, but Barbados does not have the land or the facilities either… where would Barbados put three large hangars, add several hundred thousand square feet of ramp space, park ten or more ATR-sized aircraft at night, and deal with several hundred employees and vehicles coming and going from the Customs Area (behind the fence) day and night, 24/7/365?? Can you imagine the amount of BS that would go on in the name of “security control”?

    You cannot just jump up and claim the airline must be moved to Barbados, that is the height of stupidity and sheer ignorance. Suppose Trinidad bought the majority shares, would the airline and jobs then have to be moved lock, stock and barrel to Trinidad?

    Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth – or pen – into motion.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.