Wednesday, March 28, 2012

REDjet woes continue

(Trinidad Guardian) A Barbados-based Trinidadian was unable to secure REDjet’s rebated fare from regional carrier LIAT last week Tuesday. The low-cost carrier-REDjet that ceased operations two weeks ago entered into an arrangement with LIAT to accommodate its distressed passengers. On March 16, in a statement, REDjet said that it had no alternative but to suspend flights from 23.59 pm on March 16 until further notice.

It said that all passengers booked on any REDjet flight from that date should contact the call centre 24 hours before scheduled departure time for an update on their flight status. Affected passengers were to be offered refunds, which could take up to three weeks or the option to travel with REDjet upon commencement of services.
Following this, REDjet issued another statement on March 19 informing passengers that REDjet had made arrangements with fellow regional carrier, Liat, for the provision of discounted fares for affected passengers. It said: “Persons wishing to do so may contact the Liat call centre to make bookings by quoting their REDjet booking reference/confirmation number in order to be entitled to purchase a new ticket at a special fare

On March 17, in a similar release LIAT stated that it had made specific arrangements to assist all affected REDjet’s passengers. LIAT said it was committed to carrying all persons including REDjet’s affected passengers to Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia and T&T. However, Guardian on Monday asked officials of REDjet to outline its specific arrangements with Liat, in light of the passenger’s difficulty to access the rebated fare.

But the official of REDjet said they were not ready to comment. The same question was posed to LIAT’s corporate communications manger Desmond Browne, who said the response would be available yesterday, as he was still gathering the requisite information and waiting for approval to release the information.

Peter pays double

Meanwhile,the passenger had to pay twice the amount on Caribbean Airlines (CAL), than the initial REDjet return fare to Barbados. He explained that he paid $360 including other charges like luggage and taxes for a return fare from Barbados to Trinidad. Unfortunately for Peters, while he was in Trinidad, REDjet’s operations were suspended.

Peters then contacted LIAT last week Tuesday to reserve his flight back to Barbados on Sunday, but to his surprise, he was unable to secure REDjet’s special arrangement with LIAT. Peter said the reservation agent told him that the rebated fare was not valid for advance bookings. But Peters did not want to risk having all the flights booked up, if he waited last minute to reserve his one-way fare back to Barbados.

A disappointed Peters resorted to CAL, where he paid $650 one-way fare to Barbados. Peters, who is an energy consultant and travels about twice a month to T&T, said REDjet is the best carrier for regional travel. “Its service is far superior than CAL and the planes are also better. REDjet departs and arrives on time. My flight with REDjet left Barbados at 530pm and I was home in Arima, Trinidad at 7p.”

Meanwhile REDjet stated that while its flight operations have been suspended, its staff continues to work around the clock to maintain the integrity of its business and to ensure a smooth and efficient transition when services resume. REDjet confirmed that there continue to be discussions designed to resolve the current temporary suspension of flights, which it said is in no way related to aircraft, employees and/or its business model
It said REDjet will honour its commitment to keep its passengers abreast of the status of their flights and encourage persons to call our Call Centre and/or visit our Web site for information.

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