Some stranded TUI passengers happy with extra days in sunny Jamaica

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Some stranded TUI passengers happy with extra days in sunny Jamaica

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 08, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James – There were mixed reactions from the nearly 300 Belgium-bound passengers who were left stranded in the island since Tuesday when their charted TUI Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was forced to be grounded at Sangster International Airport due to technical problems.

For the most part, the passengers who spoke to the Jamaica Observer ahead of their departure yesterday afternoon were mostly overjoyed at their extended stay in the island.

A French woman who gave her name as Christian, in expressing her delight over the extended stay in Jamaica, attributed her fortunes to divine intervention.

“...They give us good hospitality, so I enjoyed the [extra] three days. It was God's gift and it was perfect,” she said.

Edwin Ramirez was in agreement. “Everything is good. I would come back again.”

An obviously overjoyed George, one of three male Greek nationals, who all sported deadlocked hairstyles, also welcomed the extended stay in Jamaica.

“It was good. We were a little bit tired but everything was alright [as] we went to a good hotel and everything was okay,” he said.

But for getting back to Greece after the time he was expected to return to work, George's friend, Demetri, was also thankful for the extension of his stay.

“The only problem was our work because we lost some working days. We lost our connecting flight but the solution was okay, [although] there are some solutions to solve once we get back home,” said the Greek.

Perez Riviera, a Dominica Republic native now living in Spain, was livid over the cancellation of the flight which caused him to lose three days from his family and work.

“That was terrible because we have our jobs and we have our families worried about us. It was a bad experience for me. They keep saying tomorrow, tomorrow all the time so I mean, it is a bad experience for me. I hope I don't lose my job,” he told the Observer.

Fredericka Fotia, an Italian living in Belgium, also found the delayed departure a bad experience.

“It was hard; I had to take more days' leave from work. It was clear that we were in a good hotel and we had a lot to eat, but it is inconvenient [to be away for the extra days]. We hope to get our refund. It was bad, but could be worse,” she said.

According to Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett the aeroplane developed mechanical problems on Tuesday, but the passengers who were supposed to go back on the flight were all properly accommodated at hotels at the expense of TUI.

“It is a TUI flight that came and had some mechanical fault. They had to send for the parts, which arrived Thursday night. The flight was ready to leave this afternoon (yesterday),” he said.

He argued that because the flight was part of TUI's two weekly flights to Jamaica the delay will not result in any fallout. “Its itinerary would not be affected as far as destination Jamaica is concerned,” the tourism minister pointed out.

The Observer, however, was reliably informed that it was not the grounded aircraft that transported the stranded passengers out of the country yesterday but another one sent by the airline.


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