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Monday 18 June 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Paying more not to squeeze on CAL

THE EDITOR: I refer to the newest product offering by Caribbean Airlines (CAL) in which passengers are required to pay a premium rate, albeit approximately US$25-$35 more, in order to secure a seat in rows 4-10 on routes, in order that they may be afforded more leg room, as well as earlier boarding and disembarking.

As a CAL flyer, I have a real problem with this. I find it prejudicial and disrespectful that I have to pay more for what should be part of the overall product.

On recent trips to the US and other destinations, I have had to complain that my legs were squeezing and after maybe four hours of flying, the obvious discomfort due to the inability to relax my legs was causing me serious problems, including pain in my back, numbness in my legs, as well as a bladder issue.

Since CAL has slapped passengers with a fee, if they believe that basic comfort is necessary, I must ask: what about passengers in rows 11 down? Do they remain squeezing? In this context I find this move really insensitive and totally missing the point.

On a recent trip to JFK in New York, I sat almost four hours in a crouched position, because the seating just could not accommodate the three adults. So I was jammed up with no elbow room. Needless to say, this reduced circulation in my arms, restricted the space available for me to eat when the refreshments were delivered, and if my seatmate coughed, sneezed or blew their nose, I was so close I felt their spores hit me.

I would like CAL to clarify whether it has deliberately adjusted its fleets to the smaller Boeing 737 instead of the Boeing 747 or the airbus in order to save a penny on gas by packing passengers in like on a slave or indentured ship bringing in human cargo, because this is what it feels like. It can’t be because CAL is not making money, since when I last travelled all flights were full to and from the US.

I know CAL has to become profitable, and so the line minister (whoever he or she is) would not want to intervene. As a matter of fact, I gather from the advertising that the Government knew about the new “fee,” so I don’t expect much, knowing the politics of the day and the incompetence, ineptness and inefficacy of those “in charge.” But I still write to cry foul and beg for peace, equity, justice and a comfortable space on CAL.

LYSTRA MARAJH, Glencoe

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