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OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: High airfares affecting travel


Rev Errington Massiah

OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: High airfares affecting travel

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You have sown much, and harvested little, you eat but you never have enough, you drink, but you never have your fill, you clothes yourselves, but non is warm and he who earns wages, earns wages to put them into the bag with holes – Haggai 1:6.

 

Are we serious in the Caribbean about integration and when it comes to region travel? I think the answer is no, for it is too expensive to travel within the region.

Only last week I wanted to go to St Vincent for the funeral of a contemporary of mine at Codrington College, the late Dean of St George’s Cathedral the Very Rev Patrick McIntosh, but was unable to attend because the fare was too high.

By the way, I was hoping to leave Barbados on the early flight on the Friday, January 15, 2016, and return on the 4:30 p.m. flight the next day (Saturday). But when I was quoted the price of US$410 (BDS $820) for just 30 minutes in the air to St Vincent, I tried my best to see if I could get a cheaper flight, but it was in vain.

I made it clear to the travel agent that I was not paying that price of BDS$820 and that I would walk to St Vincent first even if it took me three days to get there.

I do hope that the spirit of the late Dean McIntosh forgives me for not attending the funeral and takes it out on LIAT, for having the fare so high to travel to the region. I was then forced to inquire about the fare to Miami and was told that it was BDS $783, which is three hours in the air. LIAT needs to let the travelling public know why prices are so high in order to travel in the region when oil prices are falling.

I would love to travel the Caribbean, but because of the high price I cannot. Only last week a friend of mine paid BDS$800 to travel to Trinidad, just for 35 minutes in the air. I do feel for travellers from St Vincent, St Lucia, Grenada and other parts of the Caribbean who have to come to Barbados or go to Trinidad from time to time in order to obtain visas, and the hurtful part is when some of them are refused those visas after paying airfare and accommodation. What a pity.

I am sure that if LIAT would offer cheaper fares, especially in the summer, it would encourage more persons to travel in the region. Come on. If we are serious about regional travel something has to be done about those high fares or people will continue to bypass the Caribbean and journey to North America and even England.

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