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Passengers’ Fury Over Bahamasair Flight Delays

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

EXTREME delays at Bahamasair angered customers at home and abroad over the weekend when a mechanical issue grounded one of the airline’s eight jets on Saturday.

Some customers reported waiting more than 16 hours before their scheduled flight took off.

A video went viral of customers venting at an airport in Fort Lauderdale. After they were told their flight would be delayed until 3.30am, the group became vocal, shouting at the customer service representatives: “You got to be joking,” “this is stupid,” “y’all do something man” and “I am not staying here.”

Yesterday, Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest said the airline is susceptible to these kinds of problems because of its small fleet and demand for its services.

A jet that flew to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday suffered an avionics related malfunction, Mr Turnquest said.

“We have two mechanics stationed in South Florida and we flew over one this morning and there’s a team sort of working a tele-mechanic type work from the base here in New Providence,” he said on Sunday. “We hope to get it up and running. We sent over a crew just in case it is able to get up.”

However, he declined to say when he expects the jet to be operational again.

Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell was among those scheduled to take a 4pm flight to Houston yesterday but that flight was delayed until 10am this morning.

“It’s chaotic at the gates because all flights are delayed,” he told The Tribune, saying hundreds of people were in the waiting area. He said the opposition will make a “formal intervention” with the minister responsible for aviation to address service related concerns.

Mr Turnquest said visitors to the Bahamas who have to stay overnight because of delays will be accommodated with living arrangements until their flight leaves.

Seventy people were booked on the flight to Houston, he said.

“I just came back from vacation and so I’ve been sort of getting brief updates and will be fully briefed (today),” he said.

“One of the challenges Bahamasair faces is this whole aspect of summer time, July and August and then late November and December. That’s really the payday for Bahamasair, the boom months. Those months normally carry us for the lean months. The problem is the fleet is so small. We’ve got eight aircraft, five ATRs and the 747s. The 737s carry 120 passengers. Two of the ATR’s carry 70 passengers and three carry 50 passengers so we’re not talking about a lot of seat capacity and obviously lots of people, particularly people with children, carry them in the summer so the minute we have any mechanical difficulties it’s a problem. Are we happy at what happened at the airport in Fort Lauderdale with all the persons carrying on? No, we’re not. Everyone wants to travel on Bahamasair not only because of our safety record but also because it doesn’t have a high volatility of ticket prices. The minute something goes wrong, it throws off the whole system.”

Mr Turnquest said Bahamasair will acquire a new 737 plane for December.

“Hopefully that will give us some reliability for the upcoming Christmas season and also to mean we may have to also not make the schedules as tight as we make them,” he said.

Comments

Socrates 2 months, 4 weeks ago

they say this every time they want to blow more public money on this financial wasteland called Bahamasair. every time a plane comes, we here the usual dribble and nothing changes. all we are going to get for sure, is more gov't debt supporting this hopeless enterprise.

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Clamshell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Drivel. Dribble is what you do with a basketball.

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Sickened 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Why do people fly this crap airline? Only Bahamians should be allowed to fly BahamasAir because its too embarrassing of a first impression to give to tourists.

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birdiestrachan 2 months, 4 weeks ago

if there is a mechanical problem. Leave me on the ground. I do not want to be over the ocean. I love Bahamasair.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Gee this was my thought exactly. Take as long as you need, in fact get me on a different plane

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Alex_Charles 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Stop flying Bahamasair lol. You know they are terrible and wanna be upset when they are terrible?

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ohdrap4 2 months, 4 weeks ago

THEY HAVE NEVER LOST A PASSENGER. THEY IN THE GUINESS BOOK WITH QANTAS. NOT SO TERRIBLE.

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Dawes 2 months, 4 weeks ago

“One of the challenges Bahamasair faces is this whole aspect of summer time, July and August and then late November and December. That’s really the payday for Bahamasair, the boom months. Those months normally carry us for the lean months. "

But it doesn't carry them for the lean months. The Bahamain taxpayer does. This company has not made money for decades and still this happens.

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OldFort2012 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Bahamasair is late every day from Miami. It accumulates delays as the day goes on. The first flight is more or less on time, the second 15 mins late and the last always more than 1 hour. It is a permanent state of affairs. If something breaks on top...chaos.

On the other hand, a return flight is nearly always $300. AA goes up to $1,000. But AA are always on time. I have never had a delay of more than 15 mins.

You get what you pay for.

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

American Airlines is good and probably the largest airline because of their service. But American eagle, which may have now been consolidated had a habit of bumping Bahamians and other Caribbean nationals off their flights. And they would be three, four five hours late. And they would combine flights. And so some passengers would get left. Almost every time you walked up to American Eagle's counter in Miami, there was some conflict going on between a passenger and an agent. at one point they even moved the check-in area away from the main councourse so make it more discreet.

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Sickened 2 months, 4 weeks ago

And then Bahamas Air does buy new planes that are used on international routes they buy planes that can't access the jetway and that tip over if not boarded properly. Bahamas Air is like a clumsy child; you know they are going to trip again soon.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I had a clumsy child relative. She would fall get up and say I'm ok! Was rather cute. lol. How does that relate here.. I dunno. As to the point about planes tipping over, it's another sign of the wrong people being put in charge of the airline.

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avidreader 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I had a good laugh over what OldFort (see comment above) wrote about AA (American Airlines?) never being late. His or her favored airline left yours truly in Miami last year when their 777 was on the ground in Madrid with mechanical problems instead of on its way to Miami to deliver me to Spain. They shifted me to a British Airways flight to London (Heathrow) with a connecting flight to Madrid later that afternoon. The result was that I arrived at my hotel at nightfall after riding the Madrid subway from Barajas airport. Originally I was scheduled to arrive in Madrid that morning. On the return trip I was delayed in Miami by almost five hours because the AA aircraft (operated by Republic Airlines) had to divert to Fort Meyers, Florida, as a result of severe weather in north Florida. All this is to say that all airlines suffer delays for various reasons. I assume that we prefer a delay on the ground to a serious problem in the air.

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OldFort2012 2 months, 4 weeks ago

You should learn to read. I said that AA are never late on the Nassau-Miami-Nassau route. Of course they have problems when you take ALL routes they fly into consideration. You know how many there are? I must fly with them 20 times/year Nassau-MIA and I have never been late more than 15 mins in 5 years. While I have never been on time with Bahamasair. I lie. Once.

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Greentea 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I hate flying Bahamasair and have not done so in about ten years. I am giving them another chance later this week and bought the ticket before this brouhaha. I hope its safe and and on time. But i will take safe over on time any day.

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BahamaRed 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I stopped flying Bahamasair years ago because they suck. Point blank period...

They don't take responsibility for their actions, and will leave you stranded without so much as a cup of water to soothe your throat after quarrelling with them.

If I can't fly Jetblue or Southwest I stay home...simple. At least with Jetblue, when they inconvenience you they compensate you with no issues.

Smh... I hope people learnt a valuable lesson. Bahamasair is not to be trusted.

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Bahamasair use to 'wet lease' aircraft when they had fully booked peak seasons like the present Back-to-School rush. Just to avoid the unforeseen circumstance of an aircraft going out-of-service. This whole debacle of leaving passengers stranded for up to 16 hours is unacceptable. The lease of an aircraft to do two Miami flights and two Ft. Lauderdale flights daily until the end of next week would have kept the airline on time and kept good customer relations. And since Florida is experiencing a booming tourism summer, they could not put stranded passengers in any hotels. But now this government wants to venture into the hotel business...good luck please!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Minnis and his little yapping white-haired poodle should remove Tommy T from his chairmanship of Bahamasair. Tommy T has no business sense whatsoever and has only ever been a success at clinging to the coat tails of his disappointed father, Orville Turnquest.

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CatIslandBoy 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I have had the privilege of flying on BahamasAir on several occasions. I have found the Stewardesses to be very polite and accomodating. The pilot always handle the aircraft with obvious skill and experience, amounting to very smooth and enjoyable flights. I am always proud to choose the flagship carrier of my Bahamaland whenever I have the opportunity. I also feel that my little ticket price is the least contribution I could make to the building of my national carrier. While I have flown on most of the other airlines, BahamasAir will always remain my favorite. May God bless BahamasAir, and find favor with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

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Clamshell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Hilarious. You’re proud that the pilot can fly the plane. Utterly hilarious.

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ohdrap4 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I AM TOO PROUD AND RELIEVED THE PILOT CAN FLY THE PLANE.

A LOT OF PILOTS HACKERS CANNOT FLY PLANES IN THESE PARTS.

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Clamshell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Well, when you buy a ticket on BahamasAir, the minimum you expect is that the pilot is not an unlicensed hacker. As long as attitudes like this exist, Bahamians will continue to get a piss-poor level of service on everything we pay for. We deserve better. Do you also make sympathetic excuses when the water and power go down? SMH.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Lol. You need to be in the commercial

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avidreader 2 months, 4 weeks ago

In reply to OldFort: I read quite well in English, Spanish, Portuguese and some Italian but that is not the point. Many people do not appreciate Bahamasair until they find themselves in a more stressful situation with another carrier. For its few routes and the challenges its faces Bahamasair has tried to perform but there are challenges. Unlike many people I try to support my own when I have the opportunity. Check the world news out of Europe if you want to read horror stories of airline and airport chaos.

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BahamaRed 2 months, 4 weeks ago

For the size of Bahamasair these challenges should be better handled. There is no excuse for the level of piss poor service given.

While Bahamasair has a great safety record their customer service leaves much to be desired. And in this day and age where airlines like JetBlue and Southwest are continuously raising standards, Bahamasair needs to keep up.

No one says delays and issues don't sometimes happen, but it's how they handle those issues.... piss-poor.

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hrysippus 2 months, 4 weeks ago

If you have lots of time to spare, . . . .. .. . It is best to fly Bahamasair, . . . . . . Swished between full figured gals, . . . . …. . By the time you land you're now best pals, . . . . . You've got their bag under your seat, . . . . . …. From cascaded flesh you've felt the heat, . . . . .. .. You know their church and their aunts as well, . . . . . . Their chilrens names you can now spell, . . . . … And you have figured out that our country's small, . . . . . Way before the seat belt sign is call, . . . . . . Cos your second cousin twice removed, . . . . .. Lived right next door before she moved, . . . . …

Sixteen airport hours is a whole long time, . . . ..

In first world place almost a crime, . . . . .. …

But in Nassau we gotta get used to this, . . . . … .

And if running late we still wont miss, . . . . ….

That thirty minute flight we waited for all day, . . . . .. .

With the patience of a Job even this is still okay. .

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

And let us not forget the good things about Bahamasair. Those months following 9-11. Bahamasair was one of the few airlines traveling with near full capacity loads on almost every flight to and from Florida. Those were the days when you could lie in the middle of the floor of the busiest airports in America and not be tripped on or trampled by passengers. That’s how empty the airports were. Americans were not only afraid to fly but they kept away from seaports, airports, malls, stadiums. And many tourists felt safer traveling on Bahamasair than an American carrier. And Bahamians, when they got that Florida Flea Market itch, ain’t no terrorists was gonna keep them from flying. Boho remembers?

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PastorTroy 2 months, 4 weeks ago

For 20+ years, if Bahamasair flies there, I'm flying on Bahamasair. All businesses have its challenges. It's like supporting your local corner store versus million dollar supermarkets. The owner of the corner store I went to school with her, she is my neighbor, the owner of the million dollars supermarket? Good luck! #BahamianPride

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BahamaRed 2 months, 4 weeks ago

You guys sound silly, that is the reason this country cannot function. Bahamians take pride in systems that anywhere else in the world would be considered asinine.

Bahamasair needs restructuring and a total revamp of how they operate. They have an impeccable safety record, but can never leave on time or make sure your bags and you end up in the same place at the same time.

Smh... I will stick with my JetBlue or Southwest and enjoy the on time departure and complimentary beverage/snack whilst watching DirecTV in a seat that doesn't smell like bamboo shack or last week's deportation flight. #ijs

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sapphirebigyard 2 months, 3 weeks ago

In all aspects of our country we need to improve customer service. Our response to issues must be improved. Delays happen with all airlines...ask my friends whose flights were cancelled by Jet Blue(yes...) the last holiday weekend in Ft. Lauderdale...that was also chaos.

I love Bahamasair BUT WE MUST IMPROVE SIMPLE. Management needs to be able to figure out ahead of time some actions, can we coordinate with smaller airlines (Sky, Western, etc) to help deal with the domestic load during a crisis and keep the international lines flowing? How much coordination/money/lead time is necessary to charter a 50 seat aircraft? Etc. And gate agents need to be honest and upfront with passengers about delays, And offer people a little tea, coffee, donuts, something while they wait...We have the intelligience in this country to improve our systems...let us do it. STILL LOVE BAHAMASAIR. LOVE MY BAHAMAS

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sapphirebigyard 2 months, 3 weeks ago

In all aspects of our country we need to improve customer service. Our response to issues must be improved. Delays happen with all airlines...ask my friends whose flights were cancelled by Jet Blue(yes...) the last holiday weekend in Ft. Lauderdale...that was also chaos.

I love Bahamasair BUT WE MUST IMPROVE SIMPLE. Management needs to be able to figure out ahead of time some actions, can we coordinate with smaller airlines (Sky, Western, etc) to help deal with the domestic load during a crisis and keep the international lines flowing? How much coordination/money/lead time is necessary to charter a 50 seat aircraft? Etc. And gate agents need to be honest and upfront with passengers about delays, And offer people a little tea, coffee, donuts, sonething while they wait...We have the intelligience in this country to improve our systems...let us do it. STILL LOVE BAHAMASAIR

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