No warmth in the air

Friday, February 15, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I wish to share the experience I suffered on December 17, 2018 as I travelled on Caribbean Airlines flight #CA601 from Toronto.

Because of my recent surgery, I was taken in a wheelchair to the door of the aircraft. I politely requested help with my carry-on luggage. Crew member Gaye Finch refused and explained that they are not allowed to put baggage for passengers to be stored above. I explained that the only help I needed was to wheel my carry-on luggage to my seat. I did not need for her to hoist it as I was going to ask a fellow passenger to do so. She insisted that there is no way she or her crew could do that (taking the carry-on baggage to my seat area). I explained that I had had surgery, and the doctor underscored the importance of not handling any weight or pulling or pushing any object that might cause internal bleeding.

I wanted a record of this incident and therefore took a few photos (of her laughing).

I was left alone to fend for myself as she was unmovable in her resolve not to help. I therefore struggled and pulled my carry-on baggage.

After the plane arrived in Port of Spain, I approached her to explain why she did not help me. She was repeating the same information (that she and the other crew were not allowed to put passengers' baggage in the storage section above). I was recording this conversation and she got angry. She said that no photos or videos are allowed in the plane. (I've seen several videos of mishandlings on planes; all one has to do is to check out these goings-on on YouTube.) She then called security on me.

As we were speaking, I saw one of the crew, who had emerged from the cockpit. He gave me his name — I do not recall the full name and will prefer not to name incorrectly — and informed me that he was an assistant to the captain (or something of the sort). I explained the incident and he suggested that I write a complaint. I have since done so.

After my conversation with with him, a security guard supervisor Kenrick Dass had a chat with me. He asked me to tell my side of the story (after he had spoken with Finch), which I did. He apologised for the unfortunate experience, but demanded that I delete all the photos and videos that I took of my conversation with Finch.

I have heard of the disdainful treatment of Caribbean Airlines employees to passengers, but this is the first time I have had the experience.

Of note, I also had an online chat regarding my complaint of the experience. The person advised me to make the complaint using their online form, which I did. After completion, a message came back saying that I would hear from them via e-mail within seven working days, and via regular mail within 40 working days. So far, I have had no correspondence from Caribbean Airlines in any form.

I would appreciate it if an inquiry would be made into this incident. I would be glad to meet with a senior representative of Caribbean Airlines to discuss the matter.

Dr Devanand Bhagwan

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