Adding insult to injury

Travel ConfidentialA number of Gulf Coast oil spill victims awaiting compensation checks from BP recently received letters but no checks. BP did confirm that checks inadvertently were left out of some envelopes, but they didn't think it was a widespread problem. And the oil company said the "inconvenience" would be corrected. Makes TC think of that old line, "The check is in the mail" ... you know the rest.

Flight delays are common occurrences, usually caused by bad weather, maintenance problems, etc., but TC encountered a new one recently. Seems that passengers on seven flights in and out of Nassau's Lynden Pindling Airport one afternoon were delayed because there was only one air traffic controller in the tower. The rest of the controllers had fled the tower because they could no longer bear the heat once the tower's primary and backup air-conditioning systems failed. This was not a new problem. Air-conditioning units had failed last year, as well, and new units had been purchased but not yet installed. The units were installed, the controllers reappeared and the delays disappeared.

News of an initiative to rebrand Trinidad and Tobago's national carrier Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica, which it acquired on May 1, appears to be a bit premature. CAL's logo is a hummingbird in flight, and its tag line is "The Warmth of the Islands." Air Jamaica's logo is the doctor bird, characterized by its long tail and pointed beak. "Soar above the rest" was once a tag line but is no longer in use. Seems an internal email surfaced at CAL inviting employees to design a logo and a tag line that would represent the entire Caribbean. CAL officials said there are no rebranding plans at present.

Frantz Noel, the popular chief concierge for Crystal Cruises, is leaving the luxe line after almost six years. Noel will debark the Crystal Symphony in his native Canada in October in order to see the world another way: on a bicycle. Noel plans to ride a bike all the way around the planet. Hope his two-wheeler floats.

Immigration officers at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten staged a brief walkout this month, citing uncomfortable working conditions and wage and benefit issues. It really came down to chairs. The officers complained that the chairs at the airport -- the basic black, adjustable, armless swivel office chairs -- were uncomfortable. What was uncomfortable to government officials was that the arrival and departure areas at the airport were left unguarded for more than two hours. The officers returned to work and last week got new chairs. The wage issue, not as easily resolved, is still being worked on.

This column appeared in the Aug. 30 issue of Travel Weekly.

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