Caribbean Airlines has refuted claims that they opted not to take up special needs passengers on a Saturday night flight from Trinidad to Tobago despite having available seats.
On Sunday, a social media post from a passenger claimed that 12 to 15 seats were left vacant on the flight, the last to depart Piarco to the ANR Robinson airport.
The passenger said, "This criminality occurred when the flight attendant closed the door with 12-15 empty seats on the last flight to Tobago And there were about 40 people, senior citizens and children who were told they had to wait until 3am to know if they will be able to purchase a ticket and then be listed on standby. Before the plane lift-off, I left my seat at the front of the plane to inquire of the flight attendants why they are leaving with empty seats and there are people sleeping in the airport trying to get to Tobago."
The post added, "The flight attendants said they don't work at the counter this is the ground staff jobs so they can't do anything about it. Needless to say..the last flight to Tobago was approximately 12- 15 seats empty and senior citizens and children were made to sleep in Piarco Airport last night. "
However, the airline defended their actions in a statement on Sunday.
The airline said on Saturday, April 13, 2019, all ticketed standby customers were accommodated.
The statement said, "Around 8 pm an announcement was made advising that the airline could accommodate some unticketed persons for travel and tickets sales were open to do so.
Unfortunately, when the announcement was made the crowd became uncontrollable and abusive to the Customer Service agents."
The airline added, "Airports Authority Security officers also attempted to have the customers’ line-up, however, the customers did not co-operate and continued to verbally abuse the Security Officers and Staff. Eventually, in the interest of safety, ticket sales had to be stopped."
The airline said despite this situation, "at 10 pm another call was issued for customers with special needs, those traveling with children and Club Card holders to purchase tickets to be accommodated on available seats. This was done and these passengers were accommodated."
"Be assured that all persons with children and customers with special needs were accommodated."
- by Peter Christopher