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Full flights for Carnival

Yvette Best

Full flights for Carnival

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BAJANS ARE HEADING to Trinidad in droves for this year’s major Carnival festivities.
A random DAILY NATION check with some of the leading travel agencies showed full flights to Trinidad from as early as today.
Airfares now are “similar” to and a “slight increase” over last year’s, but this is seemingly not a deterrent to Carnival-loving people.
Fares range from $552 to upwards of $1 000.
“The peak days are usually the weekend prior, from Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Carnival and Wednesday, Thursday after Carnival,” Ann Sealy of Value Vacations said, adding that flights to Trinidad March 1 to 4 were completely sold out.
“From Tuesday (today) right down, flights are full – I mean for the entire week,” Julia Thompson from Travel House reported.
Similar stories were told by three other agencies. Flights are booked solid out of Trinidad from March 10 to the 12, with people making their way back home from the fun and frolic.
Some agencies said that while the flights are full, they themselves were not doing a lot of Carnival bookings, which meant that people were going straight to the airlines or booking their flights on-line.
Chetwyn Stewart and a crew from PowerX4 flew in last weekend for the usual Carnival “release”. Come Carnival Monday and Tuesday, they will be playing mas with the Legacy band.
Stewart, who has been going to Trinidad Carnival for close to 20 years, said the cost of airfare and costumes was higher this year. Even though some of the bands were trying to maintain costs, prices had gone up in response to higher payments for materials, he explained.
Costumes for men were cheaper than those for women but the general price range was between TT$2 000 and $4 500.
In fact, Stewart admitted that his own band PowerX4 might have to follow suit and raise the price for Kadooment costumes this year.
He said, however, they would try to get sponsorship to keep prices “around the same level”.
“Here is different,” he pointed out. “You can’t add on the charges in Barbados like how Trinidad would add them on and people still jump. (In Barbados) people might refuse to jump. But everything going up, materials for sure,” he stated.
Rising costs notwithstanding, Stewart said while it might be a bit more challenging, money would not stop “Carnival people”.
“Money ain’t gine stop de Carnival people,” he asserted. “There are some people who are Carnival people; you see them at all the different carnivals, you see them at Trinidad Carnival, Barbados Crop Over, you see them Notting Hill, you see them Labour Day, you see them Miami Carnival.
“We have a lot of people that just go to carnivals,” he said, adding that banks in Trinidad offer loans of up to TT$10 000 for people to play mas.