Changes on board for CAL

New and improved changes are being phased in by Cayman Airways for its customers, from new seats to online check-in.

Amongst new elements being added to the airlines’ website is the capability for web check-in, the day of or day before flying.

The objective is to have this feature available by the next public holiday weekend, in mid-November, explained Cayman Airways’ VP Commercial John Wrightington.

Online check-in will allow customers who have a reservation to check-in the day before, or of, departure, online. ‘So you could wake up at 7am and you’re going the next day at 9pm and you’ll be able to check in for that flight, so it really gives someone a two-day window to check-in,’ Mr. Wrightington said.

Customers can also change their seats online because they can see the same seat map that the reservationists do.

‘In theory we could cut our lines in half at the airport just through web check-in,’ Mr. Wrightington remarked.

What the airline would like is a minimal number of people in line at the airport, especially on busy days like Saturday.

The airline is also going to put incentives in place for customers to check in on the web.

‘The nice thing is if we can allow people to check in the day of departure as well as the previous day, even if they don’t have Internet at home they can do it at work or have someone else check in for them,’ Mr. Wrightington said.

While documents will still be checked at the airport, the customer will put in all their document information into the online check-in system to get the boarding pass.

‘It is really setting the stage so there is very little activity taking place at the airport,’ said Mr. Wrightington.

Passengers who only have a carry-on bag can go directly to security and immigration, where the passport will be checked carefully. Those passengers with check-in baggage can use the baggage drop off line and their passport will be checked there.

Passengers travelling on Cayman Airways already have the option of check in the day prior to the flight at the Owen Roberts Airport. Early check-in is available 6-9pm every evening at the airport.

Also, people can now look up their frequent flyer mileage and redeem mileage for trips online.

People will now be able to see their frequent flyer mileage as well as what their activity was. ‘It will now be much easier for them to go back and see if they’ve gotten proper credit,’ he said.

A lot of different redemption levels have been added so it’s not as difficult to redeem your mileage for tickets, he said.

The 737-300 airplanes are also in the process of being spruced up for passengers.

Starting with the long-haul flights (JFK in New York and Chicago) there is a new entertainment show on board called ‘Cayman In-flight’. Produced by CITN, the viewing contains the show ‘Under the Coconut Tree’, which consists of cultural interviews with Caymanians.

CITN is also producing the safety videos. Everyone getting on one of the 737-300s will see a safety video like on American or Delta Airlines. ‘We’re developing it so it will be in captions, so if you’re deaf or blind you’ll still be able to see or hear the demonstration, and that’s a market that wasn’t being addressed before,’ explained Mr. Wrightington.

This safety video is also available on the long haul flights.

‘We’re adapting the programming so it will be available for short haul too, like Miami and Tampa and Kingston. This will be available probably by late November, early December,’ Mr. Wrightington said.

An up-to-date in-flight entertainment system and new seats with more leg room are part of a reconfiguration of the 737-300 jets, gradually being phased in.

‘The new seats are coming in February, so we’ll swap out all the seats in the 737-300s as well as the new 737-300 we’re getting in February, so three of our four planes will have this new seating configuration.’

Mr. Wrightington said they are currently exploring options with the other 737-200 airplane.

Cayman Airways’ domestic check-in counter is also now back in operation, following some experimentation with the lines.

‘It was basically an initiative to see if we could expedite the whole airport experience for everyone, by having it so that the next person in line would immediately go to the first available agent and in theory it was supposed to solve a lot of our wait time issues,’ Mr. Wrightington explained. ‘Well it did with the jet service to the US and Kingston but it actually slowed things down with the Sister Islands.’

He noted that it really didn’t save, overall, as much time as, in theory, they were told it would.

Now, they have just reverted back to having a separate domestic line for the Sister Islands.

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