Archive for December 14th, 2010

For the first time in a long time, we travelled to Jamaica via Air Canada. The service personnel were respectful and kind to us. My husband needs wheelchair assistance and this was provided adequately.   I can’t say with conviction that anyone who transported him around Pearson had anything near the sense of humour evident in Jamaica.  However I have a lingering complaint to get off my chest.
Over the years, as we have travelled back and forth to Jamaica, we have heard numerous complaints about the service, the lateness, the luggage hassles, ad nauseum, but the truth is that in all those years I found their service exemplary.
Last year when my husband was barely recovered from his accident, we travelled down for a funeral and the help and support was outstanding. They have never lost our luggage, nor been anything less than respectful.
Yesterday, we arrived early for our flight. Forget delays due to weather.  We slept close to the airport to avoid the possibility of being caught by slippery, snowy roads.  What was the point of getting there early, only to have one suitcase left behind? In my opinion customers arriving late to the airport should have to wait for their luggage not those who get there early.

The flight was crowded.  I was surprised because it seemed so early in the season for a lot of Christmas travellers.  Everything had to be paid for by credit card.  When did cash get to be a dirty word?  Suppose you don’t have a credit card?  Much of the travelling public is woefully uninformed about modern travel.  Diabetics were fainting by the end of the flight.  Be at the airport by 5am, landing at 1.30 p.m.  Seems that even a sandwich could be included in the cost of the flight. 

The double dip landing was uncomfortable but there was a wicked wind out there. (Did you know that Jamaicans always applaud the pilot when he or she lands the plane? No standing ovation for this guy though) After long lineups for immigration things got ugly when we realized that our luggage did not arrive.

After checking in at Toronto, no luggage tags were placed on our boarding pass, so when I went to fill out the forms I had no numbers to guide the attendant. So Air Canada, not only left luggage behind for the passengers who arrived the earliest but failed to ensure that if luggage was lost, it would be twice as difficult to find the missing suitcases.

Jamaica was mercifully cooler than on my last visit.  Cooler heads also prevailed at lost luggage counter at the airport.  The tedious process of filling out the forms manually was done by a young man who kept his own cool in the face of some very angry passengers, many of them wheelchair bound and some semi-literate or unable to see.  He asked me why I didn’t complain.  We don’t.  We wait our turn in line expecting to be served in order of arrival, where I come from.  My disappointment was not directed at him or anything in the Kingston Port authority.  They screwed up in Toronto.  Maybe when the pilot had to make the turn to land, more than once, our luggage fell out. 

After three hours waiting in a wheel chair, his gluts numb from sitting, my husband and I were finally sprung from the airport.  The young lady who was assigned to push my husband was a lovely girl, who hugged us, an unusual circumstance for staff at the airport but she was fun and helpful.  She delivered us safely into the hands of our brother in law.

So we are now waiting the arrival of luggage left behind.  Am I seeing the ghost of Christmas future?  I hope not but Air Jamaica is no more.


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