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LIAT suspends agent after alleged brawl with customer

- incident reportedly took place @ TB Lettsome International Airport on Friday September 18, 2015
LIAT, one of the most popular airline carrier transporting passengers around the Caribbean and elsewhere was forced to suspend the employs of one of its agents following reports of a vicious fight with a customers. Photo: Internet source. Photo: BVIAA
According to information gathered by this news site from sources close to the airline on September 18, 2015, sometime after 9:30pm the customer who was at the time a visitor to the territory allegedly approached the agent inquiring about her flight that should have taken her to San Juan. Photo: Internet source
According to information gathered by this news site from sources close to the airline on September 18, 2015, sometime after 9:30pm the customer who was at the time a visitor to the territory allegedly approached the agent inquiring about her flight that should have taken her to San Juan. Photo: Internet source
“LIAT’s management has launched an investigation into an incident involving one of the company’s employees and a customer at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in Tortola late on Friday September 18, 2015. The company launched an investigation on Saturday September 19, immediately upon receipt of information about the incident. “The employee in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. LIAT is committed to clearly, openly, and completely establishing all of the facts surrounding the incident and to a fair resolution of the matter,” a press release from LIAT issued on Tuesday September 22, 2015 stated. Photo: VINO/File
“LIAT’s management has launched an investigation into an incident involving one of the company’s employees and a customer at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in Tortola late on Friday September 18, 2015. The company launched an investigation on Saturday September 19, immediately upon receipt of information about the incident. “The employee in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. LIAT is committed to clearly, openly, and completely establishing all of the facts surrounding the incident and to a fair resolution of the matter,” a press release from LIAT issued on Tuesday September 22, 2015 stated. Photo: VINO/File
BEEF ISLAND, VI – LIAT, one of the most popular airline carriers transporting passengers around the Caribbean, was forced to suspend one of its agents following reports of a vicious fight with a customer.

LIAT has always emphasised and promoted top of the line customer service and when reports reached its management that one of its agents based here in the VI was involved in a fight with a customer it was forced to immediately suspend her services.

According to information gathered by this news site from sources close to the airline on September 18, 2015, sometime after 9:30pm the customer who was at the time a visitor to the territory allegedly approached the agent inquiring about her flight that should have taken her to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It was alleged that the customer was informed that the flight had already departed the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport earlier. According to the source, the customer informed the agent that she had been at the airport since shortly after 8:00pm and at no time did she leave the airport as she awaited the usual call alerting passengers to check in and or to board the flight.

It was alleged that the passenger was very upset at the way she was being handled by the agent and they both exchanged words at an aggressive tone.

However, according to our source, things took a physical turn when the passenger/customer attempted to record the conversation when the LIAT agent allegedly grabbed the customer’s phone. At that stage a brawl reportedly ensued between the two.

It is understood that several persons, said to have been working at the airport at the time, stepped in to quell the squall between the two and the customer insisted on having the matter reported both to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and LIAT’s management.

It’s not clear who actually reported the matter to but in a release from LIAT last night the airline indicated that they immediately took action having received reports of the alleged incident.

“LIAT’s management has launched an investigation into an incident involving one of the company’s employees and a customer at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in Tortola late on Friday September 18, 2015. The company launched an investigation on Saturday September 19, immediately upon receipt of information about the incident.

“The employee in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. LIAT is committed to clearly, openly, and completely establishing all of the facts surrounding the incident and to a fair resolution of the matter,” a press release from LIAT issued on Tuesday September 22, 2015 stated.

18 Responses to “LIAT suspends agent after alleged brawl with customer”

  • vex (23/09/2015, 09:08) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Smh
  • Joe Boxer (23/09/2015, 09:45) Like (30) Dislike (1) Reply
    As if it's not bad enough that passengers have to put up with delayed flights and missing baggage....now passengers are subject to a good a$$ whooping. SMH not to mention the rude staff
    • Air Port Rat (25/09/2015, 07:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ joe boxer , if command you once twice to stop an not to take my photo would you. She arrive at the airport at 8:30pm checked in, what was the visitor doing? Did the visitor not heard the flight announcement? Was the visitor in departure?, what was the environment? So the visitor missed the flight and went to confront the agent, ok so why the hell the visitor needed to record the event. Got to be one of those typical american idiots who need to record and write a strong worded letter about the incident or blog all over the place about their lousy caribbean experience etc… . Well she got one. Stop the nonsense but you recording. argue yes let them arrange another flight yes but dont jump start a situation by thinking its ok to record people just like that. yes the agent reacted too harsh but if the person had not step over the line and start an argument and add to it by recording then this would not have ended the way it did. you cant expect to think your behavior in america is ok everywhere else.
  • pat (23/09/2015, 10:06) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    you mean not one has a video?
  • sophia (23/09/2015, 10:14) Like (73) Dislike (3) Reply

    dem did the right thing. if u weigh your bag at another air line and its 18 lbs and u weigh it by liat it say 22lbs up there staff is so hoggish
  • DON Q (23/09/2015, 14:29) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    We want names vino
  • stop (23/09/2015, 15:18) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    Stop flying with LIAT........that should be the name of the campaign to put them out of business...then see where their rude r@*s gon work
  • Call the Police (23/09/2015, 15:50) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Liat is a disgrace, the workers them unprofessional, bias, rude. Most of them are in the wrong job, as a frequent traveller, there are only two workers that`s good. the rest Hmmmm. Seems like they enjoy when Liat cancel on us or when we have to wait for hours, they laugh at us and hog us up, instead of been understanding and apologetic. every day bucket go to the well one day it will drop out. Hope liat pay out some good money. No service giving person has no right fighting with a customer no matter what. call the Police
  • LIAT's Apology (23/09/2015, 17:18) Like (15) Dislike (7) Reply
    I feel like people are being excessively hard on LIAT in this case.

    Clearly something isn't adding up. Anyone who's ever flown LIAT at night knows that the last flight out is at 9pm to Antigua. I have flown LIAT several times during the day and night and I know LIAT may not have the best customer service but they won't do something like this. Whenever I fly early in the morning, I'm always told if the plane is already waiting for me. If I'm checking in late, I'm notified and told to clear security immediately. I know that the escort staff announces several times to get the passengers lined up and I know that if the staff has counted everyone on the plane and you're not there but it has been noted that you've checked in, someone would go looking for you. There's no way this tourist could have checked in, cleared security and be sitting in the waiting area and have no one tell her about her flight, especially since it was after 9pm (airport closes at 10pm). Someone would have had to have asked her something. No one would have sat there, watched her and told her nothing. LIAT isn't the best but they're better than that.

    Something is quite clearly fishy. I read this story first on another news site and the time stamps and stories aren't adding up. Either the reporters aren't getting their facts straight or this lady is telling lies. Like I said, airport closes at 10 so there's no way she could have been on time for her flight at 8 (or 8:30 as reported on the other site) when the last plane leaves at 9 (maybe 9:30 if late). From my experience there's a reason why you're asked to be ready 2hrs early. When LIAT is early (and yes that does happen, as rare as it is) it leaves early. In other words, if your plane is set to leave at 8am and the plane's there at 7:15, bags loaded and only you are missing, the plane will leave without you. Maybe that's what happened with this passenger but I find it hard to believe that that's the case since if she had arrived to the airport and her plane was gone, she wouldn't have been allowed to check in. The only plausible explanation for this woman missing her plane is some action that she did. The fault seems to lie with her. There are just too many checks and fail safes and the airport isn't big enough to get lost in, therefore, it has to be her fault.

    I'm giving LIAT the benefit of doubt because this isn't just a critique about them but also a critique about how we run our airport. I find it hard to believe that this woman would be sitting alone in the waiting area and not thinking about what's going on around her and no one would question her. I've flown LIAT several times to several places and I've never had a problem with the Tortola branch. My planes have always been on time if not early. I get my bags and I the LIAT employees always answer the questions I ask. But then again, when I'm flying, I'm always vigilant. I don't leave it up to others to tell me what's going on and if I don't understand or think something's off, I ask questions.

    On the matter of the fight, both employee and customer were wrong. The LIAT employee shouldn't have entered a physical altercation with this woman. She should have kept her hands to herself. She's the staff and she should have dealt with the issue calmly and rationally or take it to a superior if she couldn't handle it. The customer on the other hand should have asked permission to record. People don't like being recorded without their permission and while there's no law against it in most cases, it's just a matter of etiquette. This matter could have been avoided if two adults behaved like two adults and not act like they had chips on their shoulders.
    • OH PLEASE LIAT APOLOGY (23/09/2015, 22:49) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      AT LIAT APOLOGY...THE NEWS SAID THE FLIGHT WA GOING TO PR......THE FLIGHT THA GOES TO PR LEAVE BEEF ISLAND AT 9:55 OR AFTER 10 SO IF SHE REACH AIRPORT 8:30 THATS GOOD TIME FOR HER TO CHCK IN.
      • LIAT's Apology (24/09/2015, 03:25) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
        I'm going to admit I got the info about the schedule wrong. I was operating with knowledge of a previous schedule. But I my argument still remains, 8:30 is a late time to arrive at the airport when you're flight is at 9:55. That's something you can only get away with at a small airport. Knowing how hectic foreign airports can be, if she was at the airport where she came from, she'd have probably missed her flight by time she got through check in and security.

        This is what I do when I'm at the airport:

        1. Check in on time.
        2. Clear security on time.
        3. Find my gate and sit close to it.
        4. Talk to other passengers to figure out who's on my flight.
        5. Check the monitor regularly to ensure nothing's changed.
        6. Talk to the flight attendants/ airline stewards to ensure that I understand their instructions clearly.

        I don't leave things up to chance. No plane is leaving me behind because I'm being dumb and not asking questions.

        I am just finding it hard to believe that all the passengers got on the plane except this woman and it was LIAT's fault. This lady had to have been in the bathroom or somewhere where no one could find her when her name was being called. I am telling you that LIAT looks for people because LIAT has looked for me before. LIAT does a lot of things but they don't leave you behind without looking for you when they know you've checked in.

        Also, I'd like to point out this lady is wrong because she knows if she fought in an airport in America, she'd be straight the jail, no questions asked. Their alert is always on red or orange and the TSA doesn't play.

        @ Facts

        Firstly, no one was talking about luggage but since you want to go there, I've had damaged luggages and it's not just from LIAT. Yes, LIAT has plenty of areas in which it can improved but really some of the airlines people hold to higher standards aren't better than LIAT when it comes to customer service. Same thing with being at the counter. If you're talking about the gate counter, I've been on other flights where no one's at the gate until it's time to get ready to leave. Some things really are standard and when you experience something different, you're experiencing something exceptional. Customer service really is a true art and I will admit LIAT doesn't have the finesse for it but as a customer, something you can do to make your experience better is to be polite when you're talking to people who you need to help you (something this woman wasn't doing).
  • a virgin passenger (23/09/2015, 20:05) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
    I took my first Liat flight round trip from BVI to Barbados this spring. It will be my last. Their schedule from BVI
    to eastern Caribbean, stinks. The return trip back here this June was amazing though. Liat insists on routing everyone
    going everywhere thru Antigua, which isn't so nice. Their immigration, and security are very hostile. But, anyway
    their flight 512 on June 8 left Antigua for its stops on way back to Beef Island, and at St. Kitts developed 'technical
    difficulties'. The pilots playing it safe, did unload everyone off plane and test it. Then when it was Ok we re-boarded
    and of course it was late, so the St. Kitts airport was shut down and if we wanted to just overnight on St. Kitts we
    couldn't even leave. So they brought us back on another Liat plane to Antigua all over again, round and round thru
    the security, customs, immigration etc and then standing outside with no explainations and then a van takes us on a
    crazy ride to a remote highrise hotel and we get there about midnight. No choices, no food, no nothing Then at 4:30
    am another cuckoo van collects us for another 70mph ride thru the narrow streets back to airport, and they do have a
    plane there to take people originally bound for Tortola back. I notice a few seasoned travellers and local business
    travellers. This is my first Liat experience. Of course in Antigua, one can't take pictures of aircraft on tarmac and
    the security people thought my handkerchief most suspicious - and so on. NEVER has been any account of this
    flight 512 experience anywhere, including this news site. Liat has not answered my claim since then and no explaination
    of what was the matter with the airplane which aborted during takeoff from St. Kitts as it was leaving ground.
    Hey folks, this is NOT acceptable. People on that flight should come forward. Liat and pay me the cost to charter a
    plane from BVI to the eastern Caribbean from now on. And yes I am VERY seasoned air traveller in remote places.
  • liat apology facts (23/09/2015, 21:39) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don't try that I too went at the desk with a matter and was told liat don't pay for luggage damage. I too was upset and the woman was right there no one was around when I got there so something not adding up. So come again don't try that something went wrong somewhere.

    There are times when no one is at the counter truth be told. The office is behind a panel that have no visibility. Question is there a bell to ring when persons turn up for checking in?
  • Awful (23/09/2015, 21:57) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    A physical altercation with a customer should be grounds for firing, not just suspension.
  • Dumbfounded (24/09/2015, 13:30) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    @ LIAT'S apology,
    In what world do you live in where you think you can justify trying to snatch MY phone away from me if I want to record a conversation between us?? WHEN? The action alone turns it into a physical altercation because in doing so you will more than likely knock my hand and best believe I bout to punch you in the face! (that would be wrong because violence isn't the answer but I don't have that kind of tolerance YET). They were NOT both wrong for the altercation. If you want to say they were both wrong for its escalation then so be it, they could have kept calmer to avoid an argument. I know that if my plane had left me and it wasn't my fault I would be pissed. It is up to the employee to remain professional or ask another employee or coworker to take over.

    That nonsense about when LIAT arrives early it leaves early is BS! There is a REASON there is a schedule and whether or not I choose to play it close and don't arrive the full two hours ahead, if that plane leaves before the allotted time and I got to the airport in time to be on it there is NOTHING a staff member could tell me. Tell me what country you go to where airlines let a flight leave early because it arrived and was ready for take off early. Tortola to blasted slack!! That's grounds for a lawsuit else where I'm pretty sure. If I miss my flight because I was late then I have to suck it up and accept responsibility but don't tell me they left early because they arrived early! I am trying to remain cordial but you sound so dumb in thinking that is acceptable business practice.

    Lastly yes she MAY have missed her flight if arriving less than two hours ahead somewhere else, but again would we be having this conversation if she simply missed the light if she arrived at the time that's stated..NO because we are not like other countries or where she is from like you want to say. Our airport is not that big, there aren't as many people there at one given time and the process is not that long. So her timing if reported accurately should not have been the issue.
    There is some reason you feel to blindly condone the poor behavior of LIATs business practices but you're full of it!
  • leave island any time (24/09/2015, 14:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    why did she try to grab someone's phone that is a fight every time
  • former pilot (25/09/2015, 19:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    maybe Liat is the reincarnation of Air America...the American based airline that was run by the cia.....makes sense!


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