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Rudeness by agent for Bahamasair trip

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Open Letter to The Hon I Chester Cooper, MP

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation

Dear Sir,

Recently, several members of my family travelled to George Town, Exuma, to attend a 95th birthday celebration for a member of our family. 

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, two of the party, myself included, had to return to Nassau due to other engagements. We were booked and ticketed on the Bahamasair 8:15am flight with confirmed seat assignments.

On arrival at the airport at 7.15am, we joined the line in front of the Bahamasair ticket counter. After standing in line for over five minutes with no movement, we enquired of passengers ahead of us as to what was going on as no one had been checked in.

The passengers ahead advised that they were hoping to get on the flight on a standby basis. On learning this, my relative and I moved to the ticket counter and presented our identification and tickets to the agent.

The agent refused to accept our tickets and check us on to the flight and would only bark out several times “You’re too late”.

We stood in front of the agent for over five minutes during which time she refused to speak to us or to offer alternative flight arrangements.

She then called forward two men from the standby line behind and proceeded to issue tickets to them and collect payment, one in cash and the other by credit card, all while we were standing right in front of her with paid tickets in hand.

Her parting comment, as she closed the counter, was that we could come back in the evening or the following morning and get in line for standby seats.

Even if we were a few minutes late getting to the counter, which I dispute, she  should have at least offered alternatives and information on any later flights with available seats.

My relative and I are both senior citizens and did not want to have to deal with a standby situation and we made it clear that we wanted to make an alternative confirmed booking on whatever flight was available.

We waited until the 8.15am flight had departed and then asked the other Bahamasair agent, Ms Clarke, if she could assist us with booking an alternative flight. She advised that she had to close the outgoing flight and would then come and assist.

Meantime, the first agent returned from clearing the previous passengers onto the flight, walked right past us without a word and shut the office door behind her, although we were clearly waiting for assistance. Obviously, she had no intention of helping us.

The second agent, on the other hand, was able to assist with booking us on another available flight and was very pleasant.

The level of apparent deliberate rudeness and complete disregard displayed by the first agent was unlike anything I have encountered in all my years of travel.

I am a Bahamian citizen and was appalled at the first agent’s behaviour, as were several others present who witnessed the entire exchange.

If I had been treated in that fashion as a tourist, I would never come back to The Bahamas and would advise my associates against it. After all, who in their right mind wants to pay for the privilege of being treated in such a fashion?

Whether this behaviour was due to a lack of training or a complete disregard for the paying public, we cannot allow this type of behaviour to continue in our tourist industry.

This particular agent, in my opinion, should be reprimanded for her extremely rude behaviour and she should give consideration as to whether the service industry is the right place for her “talents”.

Unfortunately, I recently read of a similar incident involving a tourist travelling in Eleuthera. We need to do better, and we can do better.

SUSAN E LAWRENCE

Nassau,

April 11, 2024.

Comments

AnObserver 1 month ago

So you showed up an hour before your flight, which isn't enough time, and are angry that you didn't get on the plane? I'm confused.

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hrysippus 1 month ago

This was not an international flight but a domestic one. How long before departure are you supposed to show up?

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realityisnotPC 1 month ago

One hour should be fine for domestic.

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LastManStanding 1 month ago

Recommended is actually 2 hours according to their website, cutoff is one. I've been denied boarding for a domestic flight on a different carrier being to the airport right before an hour though, so I always try to arrive as early as possible. Air travel in this country is a giant hassle compared to when I lived overseas.

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stillwaters 1 month ago

Sounds more like she bumped them off to put her friends on.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

But isn't the Bahamas Air time policy usually displayed at each airport ....... And everyone has access to a clock??

If proven true, this agent should be investigated for taking bribes as a result of "bumping off" paid travelers.

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juju 1 month ago

I have experienced rude and difficult Bahamasair agents and flight attendants both in Nassau and Marsh Harbour. I just assumed that it was because I am a White lady… sad, but true. It should not be that way. Ms Lawrence hopefully Bahamasair leadership will try to improve our experience flying our nations airline.

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bahamianson 1 month ago

It is baha.as air, do you expect them tobe on time or cordial to customers? If so, really?

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lovingbahamas 4 weeks ago

Welcome to the Bahamas! The only time some rules apply is sometimes. They want you to be at the airport 2 hours early and then the flight is delayed 2 hours. So you sit for 4 hours for a 45 minute flight. God forbid your 5 minutes late!

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 6 days ago

The writer appears to be upset with the way she was treated more so than being denied boarding although that was a sore point.

It is curious that standby passengers were boarded ahead of people with tickets. I thought they checked the line for ticketed passengers before processing any standby. The second issue is the purpose of the arrival time requirement (I thought) is so that you dont delay departure procedures as the plane waits for you to work your way through security, customs and immigration, get your bags loaded on the plane and you seated. If a standby passenger was allowed through, it means there was sufficient time to get all that done without affecting departure time. Finally the refusal to allow the women to purchase tickets for another flight and demand they show up and wait in standby is the most strange of all.

So its odd all around what happened here.

This appears to be what we call a bad apple. But as one youtube commenter said about what police leadership call "bad apples who give the police force a bad name", "this aint a few apples, this is systemic". The system allows and encourages this rot. Its endemic through The Bahamas in public and private organizations from senior leadership down to line staff. Its everywhere. The worst is in the foodstore, almost makes you not want to eat. I believe I read a comment from Mr Roberts about how hard it is to keep cashiers, so my guess is when they get them, they ignore the tiny issue like disrespecting customers and "rude" behaviour and only fire them if theyre caught stealing or having "sex on top of the vegetables". May be the same with flight attendants, who knows.

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DiverBelow 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Tired of being embarrassed? Don't just complain of bad service, citizen Bahamas. Demand better service or Don't Come Back until the Attitude Improves. True, Choice is a luxury for Visiting Tourist, not so much a choice for Citizens... more reason to Demand Improvement.

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 6 days ago

True. Im down to 1/3 of a business after I cut out bad service. The only answer I gat is to become and live the life of a visiting tourist in the Bahamas.

I remember one popular eatery that I decided to never go to again. The cashier had to have eaten bees for breakfast. A light skinned gentleman walked in while I was biting my tongue wondering what happen to the gyro order I placed 30mins ago (they forgot it). He "could" have passed for a tourist and those girls just switched Thank you. Please come again Sir. I hope you enjoy your meal

I think I have the answer, it's the same one Bahamian business people trying to get projects started have figured out, hire a white man in a suit... khaki shorts might work too.

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