Lucky if you Arrive Today (LIAT part 2)

San Juan Travel Blog

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Oh the joys of flying with the 'Star of The Caribbean'.  Star of the Caribbean, my a*se.  I had been looking for a boat to get to Trinidad from grenada, but there's nothing scheduled and I didn't have the contacts to wangle a ride this time.  So I was left with the dubious pleasure of flying with LIAT once again.  I had sworn only two weeks ago that I'd never fly with them again, but that was before I realised that they were basically the only sodding airline that fly Grenada-Trinidad without going round the houses in the Caribbean.  By the time I booked, the 9.20pm flight was the only reasonably cheap one (US$100), but was a gamble as it was the last flight of the day.  Everyone knows if there are going to be problems, its more likely to be with the later flights.....and so it turned out, didn't it!

I wanted to get the airport before it was dark, so I made my way there about 5.30pm - yes, I was a bit keen I know.  But I settled in and read some of my Stephe Fry novel and passed the time.  Checked in, paid the unexpected airport tax fee (I thought they were always included in the price, so beware, you'll have to EC$50 flying out of Grenada!) and went through the nicely air-conditioned departure lounge.  Waited as a few other flights went out (late).  Ours was the last of the day and there were only about 12 or so of us in the lounge.  It already said delayed on the board by the time I got in there and I knew that wasn't a good omen as there was no ETD.  And the death-knell came at about 9.45pm.  quick and swift - a chap popped his head in the room and just said, "your flight's been cancelled, come back thorugh." Simple as that, like it was the most natural thing in the world and quite expected.  My heart sank as I contemplated what kind of shambolic treatment I was about to be put through.

Confusion reigned (even though there were only 12 of us, hardly a mob) as the juvenile check-in boy scambled around trying to work out what he was meant to do.  Unsurprisingly he didn't achieve much as we threw questions as him like a batallion of soldiers engaging the enemy from close range.  I wasn't feeling sympathetic and he ran for cover through the security door and finally returned with back-up in the form of a supervisor.  Thankfully, this lady was experienced in these matters (understandly working for LIAT) and worked out that we weren't going to be pleased with anything less than a hotel for the night and after booking us on new flights for the next day (and actually told us the wrong time!), we were finally able to go to the Grand Anse Hotel at about 11pm.  It was actually a decent hotel and we got given some food and shown to our rooms.  I only had a few hours to enjoy it as they picked us at 6am in the morning for the first flight out....and (with a minor delay) we finally got to Trinidad!  Hallelujah!!

That wasn't the end of the shambles, however.  Immigration at Piarco International airport, Port of Spain is like a trial.  We must've waited an hour to get through as the officers seemed to want to ask everyone their life history and insist on checking every document about three times.  and then once through (the carosels had stop running and our bags were just on the floor because we'd been so long), customs joined in on the act with a lack of officers, which meant it was well after 9am before I saw the light of day in Trinidad.  Lucikly, couchsurfing host Pernell is a star and was waiting to pick me up - cheers mate!

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San Juan
photo by: Sads79