InterCaribbean Airways is getting a tongue-lashing from scores of customers who were left stranded in Barbados after the airline canceled flights on Tuesday and bumped them off a Wednesday recovery flight.
The irate customers are slamming the Turks and Caicos Islands-based carrier for its “poor” service and customer relations.
Barbados TODAY understands that on Tuesday, the low-cost airline had two scheduled flights to Grenada, at 11:05 am and 5:30 pm, but cancellations left about 50 people stranded.
Visitors complained to Barbados TODAY that the 11:05 am flight was delayed about five times and they were informed about eight hours later that they had to spend the night on the island.
Rae Thomas, a Grenadian who was trying to get back home from the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, said she was appalled at the unsatisfactory customer service.
“It’s disgusting, it’s frustrating!” she exclaimed. “It is upsetting. People always used to complain about LIAT and how it would always be late but at least I would get to my destination on the same day I was supposed to get there; I would never have to spend a night.”
Thomas, a lawyer who works for Grenada’s Legal Affairs Department, added: “This is the 21st century, come on, this is stupidity . . . . It’s really disgusting. And the staff is not able to help us because we have questions and they are not able to help us, so it is very frustrating.”
She added that while she wanted compensation, she doubted she would receive any.
Thomas had taken three flights and arrived in Barbados on Monday. She was unable to get a flight home the same day and booked one for Tuesday.
However, she said, after checking in around 9 am on Tuesday, passengers were informed that the 11:05 am flight was delayed.
Around noon, another delay announcement was made and after 1 pm, Thomas said, passengers were given $30 food vouchers and told they should be leaving in four hours’ time. However, after 4 pm, the flight was delayed once more.
“All this time, it was further delayed due to maintenance. After 5pm, they called out the flight number but they said only people going to St Vincent could take that flight. My flight was a connecting flight; it was to go to St Vincent then Grenada. We were told there was another Grenadian flight to leave at 5:30pm,” she recalled.
At 6:50 pm, it was announced that the 5:30 pm flight was canceled due to weather conditions.
Thomas and the other customers collected their bags and had to find accommodation on their own.
They were told that there would be a 10:30 am recovery flight on Wednesday. However, when she returned that morning, she was told that the flight was delayed until noon. She added that there was a list of names called and only those individuals were able to leave on the midday flight.
Business development manager for an exporting company in the United Kingdom, Grevil Sharp also complained about the service.
He was traveling to Grenada for a two-week vacation with two companions.
Sharp said he was to leave Barbados on the 5:30 pm flight on Tuesday but, like Thomas, his name was not on the list of passengers on the recovery flight on Wednesday.
“We were initially told the flight [on Tuesday] was delayed because of maintenance and . . . an hour after the 5:30 pm departure time we were told the flight was being cancelled,” he said.
“There were about 50 passengers from the British Airways interconnecting flights. It was absolute shambles, no one seemed to know what … to do. InterCaribbean should be banned as far as the civil aviation authority of Barbados is concerned because they are inept as far as their management system.”
Sharp, Thomas and other customers reported that they were subsequently told of a 5:30 pm flight on Wednesday but were concerned they could not check in their luggage.
President of the Barbados Union of Teachers Rudy Lovell had also been booked on the 11:05 am flight to Grenada on Tuesday as he was to attend a regional teachers’ conference.
Like the others, he was waiting to get on board the 5:30 pm flight on Wednesday. However, he reported that after 4 pm it was announced that the flight was overbooked and only people who had booked that flight could board the plane, leaving behind passengers expecting a recovery flight.
Efforts to reach a local representative of InterCaribbean Airways were unsuccessful.
When contacted, chief executive officer of the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. Hadley Bourne said he did not have sufficient evidence at this time to provide a comment but the matter was something he would look into.