American Airlines has confirmed it will not be resuming flights to Grand Cayman until February 2022.
The confirmation, which follows a number of flight cancellations over the last few days, comes a week after the airline announced a December return to Grand Cayman.
Great news! Our flights from both MIA and CLT to GCM resume on Dec 16. See you then.
— americanair (@AmericanAir) September 28, 2021
However, American Airlines senior specialist global communications Brian Metham, in an emailed response to queries from the Cayman Compass on passenger complaints of cancellations, said the plug has been pulled on flights for this year.
“Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, we’ve paused flights to GCM and expect to resume service in February 2022,” he said.
Metham said at this time the airline is reaching out to customers scheduled to travel on affected flights “to offer alternate arrangements”.
However, he was unable to say how many people had been affected by the decision to cancel the resumption of flights.
The flight cancellations, which commenced over the weekend, also prompted irate passengers to take to social media to complain.
We do make changes to our schedules sometimes, based on our operational needs. Those flights will be back though, from Feb 17, 2022!
— americanair (@AmericanAir) October 5, 2021
Several upset passengers also reached out to the Compass to share their frustration and disappointment over the situation.
One passenger, who requested to be identified only as Brian, said he was set to travel to Grand Cayman early next year.
“I had vacation planned with my family Jan 4th and got the notice last night. In searching I see they’ve canceled all flights between MIA, CLT, NYC to GCM,” he told the Compass in an email.
He said the flight changes are going to force him to cancel his trip “even though currently JetBlue and Delta haven’t canceled their flights”.
“It says the flight has changed but it’s actually canceled… All the flights are canceled, like I said, to/from GCM in January. If you search American Air web site [for] CLT/MIA/JFK you’ll see no flights show up for January dates,” Brian said.
He added he was hoping for a “fully vaccinated tourists opening without quarantine by Jan 4th”.
He said that his family has hotel reservations in Aruba as a backup, but no flights yet.
“We might go to Europe now if airfares drop for early Jan. We might not get to visit GCM for a few years now. It’s frustrating when govt is saying 80% vaccine target, airlines saying we are starting flights and then of course people make reservations and are stuck,” he said.
The December trip was a college graduation holiday to Cayman with his two kids, he added, “so extra disappointing”.
We’ll be happy to review your reservation and take a look at your options. Send us a DM with your record locator and name on the booking.
— americanair (@AmericanAir) October 4, 2021
One reader said he saw the Compass interview with Deputy Premier Chris Saunders discussing reopening and a possible November unlocking of borders, but American Airlines “just canceled our Charlotte to Grand Cayman flight on Dec 22”.
He said he was informed by American Airlines that there are no flights until February.
“I would hope that you can give this information to someone in the government. We are standing fast and not giving up our reservations. Many others may react and get refunds from American and rebook elsewhere,” he said.
Another passenger, in a comment to the Compass, said American Airlines is calling customers to inform them they are cancelling flights in January and February.
“I just got my call today saying they are pulling flights due to ‘continued uncertainty’. I am beyond frustrated with this government,” he said.
Paul Sheeler said his family has been coming to the Cayman Islands since 1993.
“In 2009 our family started visiting twice a year and staying at the Anchorage Condos since 2007. We visit at Christmas and in March. We have become friends with Judi and the staff and miss them. We are renters not owners,” he said in an email to the Compass.
He said he checks the “Cayman Compass [emailed newsletter] daily and [I] had hope that a reopening announcement would happen soon, but American Airlines surprised us on October 3rd when they canceled all US flights to the Cayman [Islands] until February.”
Sheeler said his family is delaying cancelling their flights with “the hope that the Government will announce a reopening plan by November 1”.
“We will continue to try to visit the Cayman [Islands,] but this uncertainty may cause us to plan future trips to another Island,” he said.
Sheeler said that the flight cancellations have to have impacted a significant group of potential Cayman visitors.
“I imagine those potential visitors are canceling their flights and rescheduling to other destinations as I write this on October 5. The Cayman Islands Government might find out that they will lose a significant amount of tourism, even if they finally announce an opening at the beginning of November because everyone will have already changed their travel plans,” he said.
Sheeler added government has to realise that “there are unintended consequences if they continue to delay any announcements of reopening”.
A Dallas resident, who requested to be identified as only as Carter, also expressed disappointment in the change of plans by the major US airline.
“When the world’s largest airline gives up on you for January and February due to the frustration they have then you have to worry whether you will earn a dysfunctional reputation and people will change vacation patterns from this. When that happens, you know you have a serious issue,” he said.