Charter flights need regulation

I would like to voice my absolute disgust and disappointment with a certain charter company that I have had the misfortune of dealing with over the last few weeks.

Another bank holiday, another set of charter flights failing to deliver. I have been booked onto three charter flights over the past three years, failing to successfully reach my destination on all occasions.

I understand that if there are not enough people booked onto a charter flight then it is simply not profitable and therefore will be cancelled.

However, what I cannot accept, in the case of a flight that was fully booked, is the constant mismanagement and the complete lack of an adequate standard of customer service.

Our charter company on this occasion promised that our charter (to Panama on Friday, 8 November) would be going ahead, so we paid in full as requested weeks in advance.

Prior to the day of departure we had not had any contact from the agent.

We were forced to constantly chase the agent Friday.

That afternoon we were told by a friend who was also booked on the flight that it was going to be delayed until Saturday morning, due to the plane having radar trouble. If the plane has equipment failure there’s not much you can do about it, and so obviously we cannot blame the company for this.

But we were still unable to contact the agent, which was absolutely infuriating.

We couldn’t even leave a voicemail message requesting a call back as the company’s mailbox was full.

I eventually got through to the company two hours before check-in was supposed to take place. ‘The plane is on’ was the response I received.

So we confirmed our hotel in Panama.

When we arrived at the airport we were informed by a security guard that the Panama flight was off.

We still hadn’t any word from our agent, were unable to contact them by telephone and had difficulty locating anyone connected with the charter.

The representatives for our charter company were eventually found skulking at one end of the airport, seemingly trying to avoid the multitudes of annoyed customers.

They confirmed that the plane was not arriving due to a permit issue and advised that they were resubmitting the paperwork the next morning.

So with weeks to book a flight, hundreds of people paying in full, the reason given for the failure of the charter was that someone did not submit a permit application correctly.

I cannot stress my annoyance enough, and people considering booking onto such charters in the future should be made aware that the probability of them actually getting anywhere near a plane, based on my experience, is slim.

Their ability to be inept at every single opportunity was simply amazing.

A large customer base, with each customer paying CI$400-500 per ticket means you must be an efficient communicating company that can deal with all aspects of charting a plane and the required aviation paper work that goes with it. Get it together or let someone with some sense take over.

Please, can someone regulate these cowboys?

Orville Wright

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