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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    My body may be stuck here.... but my heart is in Jamaica.

    Disastrous public service from LIAT Airlines made public

    When I was in the business.....LIAT used to be called Leave the Island Any Time.

    oing on record with a long list of customer complaints, a Dominica hotelier has lodged his complete frustration over the lack of service from LIAT Airlines.
    Dominica hotelier Gregor Nassief issued the following open letter to the Board of Directors of regional airlines LIAT calling for an executive shake-up, insisting that "heads must roll." The letter complains of disastrous customer service over the past two months as well as disastrous public relations and the damage this is causing to the region and to fragile economies of island states like Dominica so dependent on tourism and the airline's service. The public complaint reads as follows:

    Dear Directors:
    Re: Heads must roll
    I respectfully ask you, on behalf of the people of the Caribbean, and the people that visit the Caribbean, and especially on behalf of the people of Dominica who depend on LIAT for their travel and also for their tourism industry, to enforce significant change in the executive ranks at LIAT.
    This request is being made first because of 8+ weeks of disastrous customer service which continues to this day due to lack of foresight and planning on the part of LIAT's executives, and second because of LIAT's disastrous public relations which has revealed the depth of your executives' indifference to your customers.
    It is your duty to hold your executives accountable for their actions and performance.
    Disastrous Service
    There has been a complete breakdown in service for over 2 months now, which I and most persons traveling LIAT have experienced. Here is a list of incidents:

    - list is too long to include

    20+ incidents in less than 8 weeks related to one island and connected to one person (the affected passengers include me and those known to me). And none of these are related to Tropical Storm Chantal or bad weather.
    LIAT introduced the new ATR aircraft in early July. Your executives were well aware that pilots operating the new ATRs could not also operate the Dash 8. LIAT also knew that before the ATRs began operating, pilots would have to be taken off line for training. LIAT also returned Dash 8s that were on lease before the ATRs were operational. LIAT went into their peak summer season with the implementation of new aircraft and with the full knowledge of what they were doing and of the risks involved. There were no contingency plans, and everything fell apart. The result is too few pilots and too few aircraft to adequately meet the demand and cover the routes. The results have been a disaster for the region, and especially for Dominica (68% of our arrivals by air are on LIAT).
    The inability to properly plan such a major event and to put the airline and its employees and especially its customers through such chaos, further damaging the reputation of LIAT and that of the tourism industry which it serves is, in to my mind, gross negligence. Who pays for the damage done to each customer, and for the damage to Dominica and its tourism industry, and to the region? Who is accountable?
    Do you believe a visitor traveling to the region for a hard-earned vacation can separate LIAT's disastrous service from the rest of their experience? Do think they will return or encourage others to come?
    So many that work so hard to bring visitors to our region and to our island cannot and should not continue to the pay the price for the incompetence and actions of your executives.
    Disastrous Public Relations
    Your CEO has gone on record only once, as far I can see, explaining the crisis as follows: "an increase in unscheduled maintenance at a time when our schedule calls for maximum aircraft availability; crew shortages; bad weather; airport limitations; and delays in obtaining licences for operating our new ATR aircraft in some territories".
    Your Chairman has focused on maintenance issues with the old Dash 8s being the heart of the problem.
    This is only part of the truth - poor planning and implementation is the crux of the matter. It is a great disservice to your ultimate shareholders - the people of the Caribbean - to not deal with the crisis truthfully and clearly and to ensure swift correction action. Who is accountable?
    In the most baffling public relations event that I have ever witnessed, your Chief Commercial Officer responded via a YouTube video to a customer complaint letter which was publicized by Richard Branson. Your executive said that "LIAT is second only to Virgin to receive the funniest complaint letter every written" and challenged Branson to a race to Necker Island saying that "the loser can wipe the other airline's tail" or Branson can dress up as a flight attendant for LIAT.

    This is your top marketing, commercial and PR executive, the face of your organization, the depth of your indifference to what customers suffer, and for me, the lowest point in my perception of what LIAT stands for. Who is accountable?

    .... and it continues
    Last edited by Tropicana; 08-12-2013 at 08:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    My body may be stuck here.... but my heart is in Jamaica.
    This was the complaint letter:

    This is what Richard Branson wrote:

    Having once received what many regard as the world’s best complaint letter, I was tickled to see another brilliant note to a different airline.

    I phoned the customer who wrote the above note to apologise and thank him for his letter after he experienced a less than perfect culinary experience on board one of our planes. It is important to take customer feedback on board in order to improve – and also to be able to laugh at yourself.

    With that in mind, here is an open letter to Caribbean airline LIAT, written by Arthur Hicks, who also happens to be a great tennis pro.

    Dear LIAT,

    May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

    Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

    I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.

    I also found it unique that this was all done on “island time,” because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I’m glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night — and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.

    So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are “The Caribbean Airline.”

    P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

    As a colleague said: “I guess this is why LIAT is reputed to stand for Languishing In Airport Terminals!”

    But seriously, making customer service key to your company will keep your employees motivated and your customers happy. This in turn ensures enduring loyalty, business success and a better experience for everyone.
    By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group

    This was LIAT's response:

    Last edited by Tropicana; 08-12-2013 at 08:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    My body may be stuck here.... but my heart is in Jamaica.
    Okay here are my 2 LIAT stories.

    Story 1

    We were flying from a small island to Barbados. I heard the pilot say to the flight attendant "We're still expecting 2 more people but we're going to leave anyway". Then they did. They left early.

    Story 2

    I was on one small island flying to another. It was my fault. I had missed my flight in Barbados the day before....long story suffice it to say make sure you have on your glasses when you read flight itineraries.

    I was with the passengers in the lounge. I heard one passenger agent ask the other about the pilot. The response....I haven't seen him from morning.

    Eventually he showed up. Unfortunately, the flight attendant never showed up. So they made an announcement to the passengers that they were going to fly them from that island to another where they would make a connection to their final destination.

    The arrival time would have put me past the start time of my meeting. So I approached them and said I couldn't do that.

    They said they had to call another flight attendant as the aircraft had to be ferried to pick up the passengers who would be waiting there.

    So, I explained that I used to be in the business and begged to be allowed to travel down on that aircraft so that I wouldn't miss my meeting. They agreed.

    So the pilot, flight attendant, and I flew down together. I was picked up at the airport. I BARELY made my meeting. I have 2 more stories from that part of the Caribbean but they don't involve LIAT so I will share them another time.

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