Trinidadian passengers upset at lack of info after CAL jet issue

CAL passengers wait in line to get travel information for Flight BW601 on Saturday, after the flight was forced to return to the Pearson International Airport on Saturday morning, after encountering technical issues on the way to Trinidad.

(Trinidad Guardian) Trinida­di­an pas­sen­gers who were on board Caribbean Air­lines’ flight BW601 have ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment at the air­line’s lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion about why the flight had to re­turn to the Pear­son In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port (YYZ) on Fri­day morn­ing, one hour af­ter take-off from Cana­da des­tined for the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port.

The pas­sen­gers fi­nal­ly re­turned home around 9.55 pm on Sat­ur­day but ex­pressed frus­tra­tion and anger af­ter the resched­uled flight was again de­layed to 4.15 pm that day af­ter they were told they had to check in at noon for a 3 pm de­par­ture.

“No an­nounce­ment made to us. No ex­pla­na­tion giv­en to us…for so many hours we were kept in the dark and still kept in the dark at the time the flight fi­nal­ly left Toron­to,” one irate pas­sen­ger said.

An­oth­er pas­sen­ger said those who were on board the full flight and des­tined for George­town, Guyana, were al­so an­gry be­cause they missed their con­nect­ing flights be­cause of the de­lay Sat­ur­day.

CAL passengers pass time chatting in the departure lounge at the Pearson International Airport in Canada on Saturday morning. They were on Flight BW601, which was forced to return to Canada in mid-flight after encountering technical issues on the way to Trinidad.

The T&T Guardian was told that the air­craft sud­den­ly be­gan ex­pe­ri­enc­ing tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties on its first jour­ney to Pi­ar­co on Fri­day, hence its forced re­turn to Cana­da. The Boe­ing 737-800 air­craft land­ed back at Pear­son at 12.01 am on Sat­ur­day af­ter be­ing forced to turn around in midair when the pi­lots re­port­ed­ly ex­pe­ri­enced an is­sue in the cock­pit.

An­oth­er pas­sen­ger, who is orig­i­nal­ly from Trinidad but re­sides in Toron­to, ex­plained the hor­ror that tran­spired when the pi­lot an­nounced that the plane had to be turned around “be­cause of a prob­lem in the cock­pit.”

“At first every­one thought it was a joke but then we soon re­alised af­ter that it wasn’t. Peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self, be­gan to pan­ic and some of us start­ed pray­ing loud­ly and hop­ing that we get back to YYZ alive,” the pas­sen­ger said.

“It was a hor­ri­ble land­ing, very rough and fast. I was very ner­vous and scared. It is ap­palling that no in­for­ma­tion was giv­en to us. No an­nounce­ment made. The plane didn’t get to the gate at 3.05 pm (yes­ter­day) and up to that time no an­nounce­ment made as to why…every­one was ag­i­tat­ed…are we, not peo­ple too?”

Af­ter more than one hour seat­ed in the warm air­craft af­ter its re­turn to Pear­son, the pas­sen­gers were in­struct­ed by the crew to dis­em­bark at 1.17 am and wait at the gate. Af­ter wait­ing close to an­oth­er hour at Gate B37, the pas­sen­gers were told the air­line would of­fer lim­ou­sine/taxi ser­vice to those wish­ing to re­turn to their re­spec­tive homes and ho­tel stay at the Hol­i­day Inn Toron­to un­til 12 noon Sat­ur­day.

This arrange­ment too was fraught with mishaps.

One T&T cou­ple ex­plained: “First off, we did not get back our re­spec­tive pieces of lug­gage so we were left with­out fresh clothes and toi­letries. Al­so, some pas­sen­gers were shut­tled to the wrong ho­tel and had to be shut­tled again to the cor­rect one…all this added to the frus­tra­tion and still no ex­pla­na­tion what­so­ev­er giv­en for the in­con­ve­nience.”

The flight ini­tial­ly de­part­ed from Pear­son In­ter­na­tion­al at 10.53 pm on Fri­day from Ter­mi­nal 3 and up­on its emer­gency re­turn land­ed at 12.01 am. In an im­me­di­ate re­sponse then, CAL’s head of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions Dionne Ligoure said af­ter take-off from Toron­to there was a mi­nor tech­ni­cal is­sue with BW 601.

“How­ev­er, in keep­ing with stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure, the air­craft had to re­turn to the gate for the is­sue to be checked by an air­craft en­gi­neer,” Ligoure said.

“BW 601 re­turned to YYZ and land­ed safe­ly at mid­night. There was noth­ing re­port­ed to be un­usu­al with the land­ing. The air­craft was po­si­tioned at the gate at 12.07 am.”

Ligoure said pas­sen­gers were served meals while the en­gi­neers worked on the mat­ter.

How­ev­er, Ligoure did not re­spond to sub­se­quent en­quir­ing about what was the is­sue en­coun­tered with the air­craft that caused the forced re­turn to Cana­da and why the en­gi­neers need­ed sev­er­al hours to rec­ti­fy it.

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