Eighteen year-old aviation company TravelSpan took full advantage of the Christmas season to successfully resume airlifting hundreds of passengers from John F. Kennedy airport to Cheddi Jagan International Airport from Dec. 14 last year, ending a monopoly and high airfares that nationals faced over the last year. However, the carrier had to overcome the recent snowstorm that shut down area airports and crippled air travel across the U.S.
The 767-200 series aircraft operated by Dynamic Airways managed to departed JFK for Georgetown ahead of the storm on Jan. 2, only to be hit with criticism from the hordes of expats who blasted management for not calling them ahead of time for the outbound flight from Georgetown that was rescheduled from 3:00 p.m. to midnight.
Many passengers, who had trekked from across Guyana were turned away at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and asked to return at 7:00 p.m. to check in for the return to New York.
TravelSpan Marketing and PR Manager Vanita Jagnerain who was on hand to deal with the frustration of passengers, vigorously defended the airline saying it was beyond their control.
“TravelSpan received late notice from JFK, so we were not responsible for the reschedule,” said Jagnerain.
“All flights over the Christmas season were completely sold out. This is a testament that passengers are confident that the carrier is here to stay.”
Jagnerain, who joined TravelSpan GT Inc. in 2009, went on to say “TravelSpan has been in the airline business from 2006 to 2008 but we took a hiatus, waiting for the right time to return to the market, when there was a need for direct round-trip flights to the republic.
“All airlines have travel relates issues, but we promise that TravelSpan would work hard to make travelers’ experience as pleasurable as possible,” she added.
But despite the confusion, the airline prevailed, and departed on time, stopping in Trinidad to pick up additional passengers before arriving at JFK in record time to become one of a few carriers that were cleared to touchdown on a snow-covered runway.
With offices on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, and in Richmond Hill, Queens, the carrier is positioned to airlift passengers twice weekly on Thursdays and Saturdays to Guyana, and Wednesdays and Fridays to Trinidad.
However, the planned Vision airplane that seats 218 passengers will replace the wide-body Dynamic 232-seat aircraft currently in use. Vision will showcase the TravelSpan logo, and will fly add more flights at Christmas, Mashramani, carnival, Easter and summer. The carrier promises competitive fares depending on the time tickets are purchased.
The TravelSpan professional added that the company is a customer-friendly service that has maintained strong relationships with customers and the Guyana government. This is the reason the airline was able to return to the market without any hassle to resume on-time competent service.
Passenger Deowadtie Tulsie from the Bronx who sat in seat 5C on the flight from JFK to Georgetown for the Christmas holiday, described her first experience on TravelSpan as a great one, and plans to continue using the airline, while Natalie Bishop, a member of a medical organization, said she was pleased that the airline is back in service and assures that her organization would use the carrier to fly to Guyana.
However, Bibi Kamadulin of Queens, who traveled with her ill mother, was unhappy with the layover in Trinidad.
“I was told my flight would be direct, round-trip. I like a straight flight,” she complained.
Travel Span staffer Jagnarain explained that this was a temporary measure to accommodate Trinidad passengers during the Christmas season.
Overall, the TravelSpan crew did an excellent job in ensuring that travelers were comfortable, even providing courtesy warm, hand towels to those in the front section of the plane before their meals.