I was in Fly Jamaica’s Scarborough Toronto office this week, awaiting the Company’s CEO Roxanne Reece to arrive for a one-on-one meeting we’d scheduled between us. While I was waiting an elderly Jamaican gentleman came into to the office to inquire about the possibilities of receiving a refund for the personal inconveniences he’d endured during its much publicized experienced flight delays over the last week of December and the first few days of January.
As many Readers would know, the airline had experienced a series of delays that had left passengers stranded here in Toronto and at its other airport hubs in Guyana, Jamaica and New York. The particular gentleman who was visiting the office had been stranded in Jamaica, awaiting a flight back to Toronto. After several delays, he eventually got back home, days after he’d been scheduled to return to work, much to the reportedly expressed severe displeasure of his employers.
I have to say that I was overly impressed by the excellent customer service that was demonstrated by the Guyanese-Canadian young lady who handled his inquiry. She was entirely courteous and impressively professional in responding to his questions while expressing her regret and empathy for his experienced ordeal.
Having witnessed that interaction only served to reinforce the belief I’ve always held that despite the unfortunate hiccups it has experienced in its operations to date, Fly Jamaica is still for very many reasons fully deserving of the support of the Guyanese and Jamaican Canadian communities it has now been servicing for the past three years. As I had reminded one very disgusted Guyanese-Canadian Business Owner during a telephone conversation we had during the time that the flight delays were being experienced, in as turbulent an industry as theirs unquestionably is, for a privately owned airline to have even survived its first three years of existence is by itself a highly commendable achievement.
Indeed, there are very many aspects of the manner in which Fly Jamaica has conducted its operations within its first three years that are deserving of the highest commendation. Passengers who had experienced the delays and others who may have heard of them through news reports were quick to condemn the airline despite having been told that the causes were unfortunately due to almost freaky circumstances that were totally beyond anyone at Fly Jamaica’s control. These included the mechanical breakdowns of aircraft that had been chartered as replacements for their own planes that had been grounded for required servicing. In their hasty condemnation those passengers were seemingly quick to forget the highly commendable aspects of their travel experience with Fly Jamaica.
At a time when most other airlines now charge additional fees of upwards of US$25 for checked baggage, Fly Jamaica offers its customers to luxury of checking two free suitcases of up to 50 lbs each. This in addition to the free carry-on allowable baggage service the airline also offers.
On board most flights, especially those of the Canadian and American airlines, except for the complimentary sodas, water, coffee or tea and some pretzels or crackers, there are no longer any free meals on offer. Passengers who are hungry and want something to eat have to fork out extra dollars or furnish their credit cards. Not so on any of Fly Jamaica’s flights where passengers are treated to delicious, impressively adequately sized meals. Their salt fish and bake breakfasts have since become almost legendary among Toronto to Guyana or Jamaica bound passengers.
These are only some of the main features of Fly Jamaica’s flights which are invariably serviced by very courteous, friendly and helpful flight crews. The airline’s pilots also do a most wonderful job keeping passengers fully informed on the aspects of the flight, including the weather and possible turbulence.
Here in Canada within the first three years of its existence Fly Jamaica, through its admittedly understaffed Marketing Department, has been overly impressive with its expressed support of Guyanese and Jamaican Community activities. Fly Jamaica Flight Tickets have become almost standard offerings as door prizes for countless community functions. The airline has also been highly supportive of major community events, such as the annual Guyanese High Schools Alumni Last Lap Lime.
Admittedly Fly Jamaica’s customer service responses to the inconveniences experienced by passengers when flight delays have occurred, have at times been in need of some improvements. In particular the airline needs to do a much better job at providing temporary hotel accommodation for stranded passengers who are in need of such. It can also improve on its issuance of meal vouchers to passengers who have left sitting at airports for extended hours, when flights have been delayed.
The recent experiences over the post Christmas and early New Year period should serve as a strident indication to Fly Jamaica’s top brass that drastic improvements are needed to its customer service policies and practices, especially at times of flight delays induced crises! Given by its demonstrated forthright responses to the Guyana Aviation Authorities expressed request for explanations for the experienced December-January delays, it would appear that the airline is both conscious of that need and committed to making the necessary improvements.
For an airline that is again only three years old Fly Jamaica, despite its recent inadequacies, has overall done enough that is far more deserving of the Canadian Caribbean Community’s support than its condemnation. Here’s to Fly Jamaica’s continued success. May 2018 be the year when it soars to new heights and becomes indisputably the Caribbean Canadian Community’s most favored airline.