LIAT Air

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May 8th, 2012, 03:22 PM
  #1
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LIAT Air

Hi everyone

I'm traveling to the Caribbean in June and have a flight booked on LIAT from Tortola --> Nevis. I've since read HORRIBLE reviews about this airline in terms of flight delays/cancellations and baggage (though I'm hoping to eliminate the latter by using only a carry on). I couldn't find any other way to get to Nevis other than by LIAT. Any experiences flying this airline? Any suggestions for alternate ways to travel?

Thanks!!!
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May 8th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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IAT - some say the name stands for - Leave Island Any Time or Luggage In Any Terminal. Regardless of what you call it, LIAT is a typical Caribbean commuter airline. It has its good days and bad days. The trouble is you can never predict weather it will be a good airline day or a bad island day. I don't have any real statistics but you probably have a 50% to 60% chance your flight will be trouble free, meaning there's a good chance you'll encounter some type of delay.

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about their performance - it will be what it will be. You'll have to just be flexible.

While there are no other airlines that will get you to Nevis from Tortola you could fly back to San Juan and catch an American Eagle flight to St. Kitts then take the ferry to Nevis but schedules may not allow for optimum connections and you could end up over nighting in San Juan or possibly St. Kitts. If you can do it in one day it will probably be a very "long" day.

Your only other viable alternative to get from Tortola to Nevis would be doing a private charter flight (which will be very expensive - think in terms of $3,000 to $4,000 for a small plane).

Sorry the answer is not more encouraging but the answer is what it is.
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May 8th, 2012, 04:20 PM
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Oops! that first word should be "LIAT" not "IAT".

By the way, you don't say which LIAT you are booked on but you should be aware that it will make at least one other stop on route to NEV. You might even have to change planes depending on the time/day you are traveling.
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May 8th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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Yeah, it is a plane change, unfortunately. Wouldn't be too upset with delays, just hoping for no flight cancellations
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May 9th, 2012, 04:26 AM
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Fact: LIAT is a regional airline which provides a reliable "bus" service between mos of the eastern Caribbean islands. LIAT carries well over a million passengers a year, and non-regional passengers account for less than 1% of that total. LIAT has also come a VERY long way from the "Leave Island Any Time" days some 40 years ago.

Non-regional passengers - especially North Americans - expect the same polished impersonal treatment as they are accustomed to; When they experience the island culture it is a shock and some complain for no good reason.

There is a 99.9% chance - equal to or better than the NA airlines - that your flight will operate on time and get you - AND your baggage - where you want to go. My advice is not to listen to the blatherings of a few spoiled adult children, don't worry about everything, and just relax and enjoy your vacation.

As for American Eagle, AA is now a bankrupt compoany and is closing American Eagle in Puerto Rico - the very airline being suggested to you.

Instead of taking uninformed advice from someone here on the forum, why not check for yourself what flights are available on LIAT - http://www.loat.com . There may well be a direct flight between Tortola and Nevis there which even the travel agents don't know about.

And you should know that if a change is indeed necessary, you are better off transferring in St. Kitts than St. Maarten - for the simple reason that St. Kitts is much less busy. And once you clear Immigration in St. Kitts there will be no more need for formalities in Nevis - they are the same country.

When you get to that part of the world, don't worry, be happy... enjoy your vacation. Travelling that part of the world is not as bad as some people like to make it out to be.
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May 9th, 2012, 04:28 AM
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Sorry, that link above should be
http://www.liat.com/
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May 9th, 2012, 07:04 AM
  #7
 
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First of all, if American shuts down its operations in Puerto Rico, it won't be until next year.

There is currently a daily afternoon flight from San Juan to St. Kitts, from which you can hop on a ferry to Nevis. It's easy to get from Tortola to San Juan on Air Sunshine or one of the other carriers, or from St. Thomas to San Juan on American on a morning flight. I see no reason why you might need to spend the night in San Juan. So if you want to avoid LIAT, you can.
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May 9th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Sorry to deflate your bubble bigjim but I live in the Caribbean and I fly LIAT fairly often. I'm also very familiar with the vagaries of island life and "island time".

The reality is I encounter some type of delay/problem around 40% of the times I fly on LIAT. That can range for shot delays all the way to cancelled flights. They have a limited number of aircraft so if a particular plane encounter a mechanical problem it may be quite awhile before it can be fixed or a replacement aircraft can be found (this is true for all cumber carriers in the Caribbean). Several times in recent months the pilots have either gone on strike or had unannounced "sick ins" which completely disrupts flight schedules. LIAT routinely candles flights without informing passengers. A few weeks ago I showed up for a flight only to be told they decided to send the flight out an hour earlier than scheduled departure time - no attempt was made to contact any of the passengers before hand. Some of the staff at LIAT are the most unprofessional and rude airline employees I've ever encountered (and I've traveled all over the world). To be far, some LIAT employees are just the opposite. What I ave found is that when it's a "bad day" at LIAT one should not expect good service.

LIAT has a virtual monopoly on flights to/from some destinations in the Caribbean so we are stuck with them. We have come to accept the airlines shortcomings much the same as we accept the vagaries of island life. We may not like it but it's the price we pay to live in paradise. The caribbean might be paradise but it's not heaven.

If you look at my post I clearly told OP that LIAT has its good days and bad days. When LIAT is having a good day - all is fine. If it's a bad day - well you know what happens.

As for American Eagle, what you say is true, they are in the midst of Bankruptcy proceedings and are cutting back on operations at SJU. I was not recommending them but rather nearly pointing out that flying back to SJU was another option for OP. If I hadn't pointed that option some other contributor would, no doubt, would have made the suggestion. I specifically pointed out it might not be the best option.

One last comment, People going on vacation have a limited travel window and are right to be concerned about possible travel delays. LIAT's reputation for less than stellar operations is deserved but it is what it is. I, for one hope, OP flies on a day when "The Good LIAT" shows up.
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May 10th, 2012, 11:12 AM
  #9
 
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HI Doug-

Not to hijack the post...but is AA shutting down its American Eagle operations or all AA operations in San Juan? I have not heard this. I hope it doesn't happen.
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May 10th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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HI Doug-

I read online its American Eagle. That stinks!
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May 10th, 2012, 12:42 PM
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It may or may not happen ... but it won't be until 2013.

AA also had McKinsey and Co. review their hubs in the U.S., and they realized that they'd lose more money by shutting them down than by keeping them open. As everyone may recall, AA cut back drastically on their service to the Caribbean a few years ago, and then ended up adding back almost all the flights within a year. But they also opened up the opportunity for JetBlue and other airlines to jump in and take a fair chunk of their business. So they may indeed cut back again, but the thing to keep in mind is that there are other airlines now to pick up the pace if the business is there.
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May 10th, 2012, 04:19 PM
  #12
 
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I've flown LIAT about a dozen times, so I don't have nearly the experience that RoamsAround does, but my experience echoes his. We've had a few delays when flying LIAT, but I've not experienced any canceled flights or lost baggage (or baggage getting left behind. while not technically lost, it can be a PITA). There's no control and you just have to go with the flow. I've even been on LIAT when it's made unexpected stops on another island, and I've been on a flight that was supposed to have a short stop on one island but got converted mid-flight to a nonstop.

If you want to get to Nevis and you don't want to go through St. Kitts to get there, it's your best option. Incidentally, one of my flights on LIAT was supposed to be a nonstop EIS to ANU (Antigua), but we made that unexpected stop on NEV. Landing on Nevis and seeing its gorgeous lushness was what prompted me to book my next vacation there. Well, one of the reasons.
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May 11th, 2012, 10:11 AM
  #13
 
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Hi Doug-

Thanks for the follow up!!!
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May 14th, 2012, 12:29 PM
  #14
 
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Another option might be Cape Air from San Juan to Nevis. We flew from San Juan to St. Croix last Fall on this airline and noticed they were starting service to Nevis also.
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Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:18 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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DO NOT USE LIAT. This airline makes up there own rules and you are held captive and helpless until they say otherwise, I have never experienced anything like it before. I will NEVER fly this airline again.
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Feb 25th, 2015, 06:21 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 4
We will NEVER fly Liat Airline again
Feb 23, 2015, 12:15 PM
We sat in a LIAT Departure Area for 2 days of a 3 day vacation and never made it to our destination.

My husband & I boarded LIAT 310 out of Trinidad at 5:30am on February 18th for a 3 day vacation to Antigua.

The flight was delayed due to a technical problem w/ the plane and we were taken off the plane.

The problem was fixed, we boarded the plane again and flew to the first stop, St. Vincent.

In St. Vincent, after boarding the St. Vincent passengers the same plane had a technical problem again and we were all taken off the plane.

We ended up spending the entire day in St. Vincent. All efforts to get re-booked on another flight and get information about our options to fly to another destination to get other connecting flights were met with apathy and complete denial of service.

They put us up for the night in a hostile and the next morning took us back to the airport and had us stand in line for the same flight, 310, we were booked on the morning before.

Instead of getting on the first flight out in the morning to Antigua. We were flown to Barbados for a connecting flight at 1:50p to arrive at 3:15p.

At 12 Noon on Thursday February 19th in the LIAT Departure Area in Barbados we were told our flight to Antigua was delayed and we would not arrive to Antigua until the evening. The

LIAT agent indicated that they could get us back to Port of Spain before they could get us to Antigua.

We had multiple times ( 8 ) conveyed to LIAT ticket agents - boarding agents - flight attendants & LIAT supervisors that LIAT was jeopardizing our 3 day vacation in an effort for LIAT to show empathy & provide us Priority boarding.

LIAT's response to try & place us on flights to Antigua did not materialize.

With 2 days out of our 3 day vacation to Antigua spent in LIAT Departure Areas - we cancelled our vacation to cut our losses.

The Liat agent immediately re-booked us on a flight to Port of Spain and told us he would have our checked luggage retagged.

At time of another delayed departure we inquired about our checked bag because we had not received the new tag. We were told it would be brought up from customs. We boarded the plane and asked the flight attendant to confirm our bag had been loaded and give us the tag. The flight attendant said the bag had been loaded, but they hadn't had time to get a tag.

We arrived in POS, and our bag did not. We filed a missing luggage claim w/ the POS Liat agent. We informed the agent the luggage was originally tagged to go to Antigua and she recorded it on the report.

The next morning we called the baggage service and was told they would find the bag, give us a call, and deliver to our hotel.

Saturday morning February 21st, we called Liat baggage service again because we had not heard back and was told they had not located the bag. On a whim we called the customer relations number on an email we had received from an agent regarding our complaint about our failed trip to Antigua. This call was answered by David in Antigua baggage claim.

"David, do you have a red hard case bag there?"

"Yes, what's the name on the bag?"

"Bogle"

"Yes, that bag is here. Where is it suppose to be?"

"Port of Spain"

"Ok, here's the new tag number for POS, it will be on flight 309 to POS...."

We retrieved our bag Saturday night Feb 21st from POS airport. Thank you, David.

We have never had such a horrible experience with an airline. We will never fly Liat airline again.
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Feb 25th, 2015, 06:21 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 4
We will NEVER fly Liat Airline again
Feb 23, 2015, 12:15 PM
We sat in a LIAT Departure Area for 2 days of a 3 day vacation and never made it to our destination.

My husband & I boarded LIAT 310 out of Trinidad at 5:30am on February 18th for a 3 day vacation to Antigua.

The flight was delayed due to a technical problem w/ the plane and we were taken off the plane.

The problem was fixed, we boarded the plane again and flew to the first stop, St. Vincent.

In St. Vincent, after boarding the St. Vincent passengers the same plane had a technical problem again and we were all taken off the plane.

We ended up spending the entire day in St. Vincent. All efforts to get re-booked on another flight and get information about our options to fly to another destination to get other connecting flights were met with apathy and complete denial of service.

They put us up for the night in a hostile and the next morning took us back to the airport and had us stand in line for the same flight, 310, we were booked on the morning before.

Instead of getting on the first flight out in the morning to Antigua. We were flown to Barbados for a connecting flight at 1:50p to arrive at 3:15p.

At 12 Noon on Thursday February 19th in the LIAT Departure Area in Barbados we were told our flight to Antigua was delayed and we would not arrive to Antigua until the evening. The

LIAT agent indicated that they could get us back to Port of Spain before they could get us to Antigua.

We had multiple times ( 8 ) conveyed to LIAT ticket agents - boarding agents - flight attendants & LIAT supervisors that LIAT was jeopardizing our 3 day vacation in an effort for LIAT to show empathy & provide us Priority boarding.

LIAT's response to try & place us on flights to Antigua did not materialize.

With 2 days out of our 3 day vacation to Antigua spent in LIAT Departure Areas - we cancelled our vacation to cut our losses.

The Liat agent immediately re-booked us on a flight to Port of Spain and told us he would have our checked luggage retagged.

At time of another delayed departure we inquired about our checked bag because we had not received the new tag. We were told it would be brought up from customs. We boarded the plane and asked the flight attendant to confirm our bag had been loaded and give us the tag. The flight attendant said the bag had been loaded, but they hadn't had time to get a tag.

We arrived in POS, and our bag did not. We filed a missing luggage claim w/ the POS Liat agent. We informed the agent the luggage was originally tagged to go to Antigua and she recorded it on the report.

The next morning we called the baggage service and was told they would find the bag, give us a call, and deliver to our hotel.

Saturday morning February 21st, we called Liat baggage service again because we had not heard back and was told they had not located the bag. On a whim we called the customer relations number on an email we had received from an agent regarding our complaint about our failed trip to Antigua. This call was answered by David in Antigua baggage claim.

"David, do you have a red hard case bag there?"

"Yes, what's the name on the bag?"

"Bogle"

"Yes, that bag is here. Where is it suppose to be?"

"Port of Spain"

"Ok, here's the new tag number for POS, it will be on flight 309 to POS...."

We retrieved our bag Saturday night Feb 21st from POS airport. Thank you, David.

We have never had such a horrible experience with an airline. We will never fly Liat airline again.
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