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The Adventure of Flying to Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – As a frequent flyer to Costa Rica, I have logged over 500 flights over the past twenty five years. To say the least I have had experience with almost every airline offering flights to and from Costa Rica.  I started with Eastern Airlines, Pan Am, Lacsa. I then moved briefly to Aero Costa Rica and Martin Air.  I ventured on to Taca, American Airlines, U.S. Airways, America West, Frontier, Continental, United, and Jet Blue.

rude flight attendants 1I have had to fly in and out of the country four times in the past two weeks and although I am not a flight attendant have vast experience with Costa Rica airlines and the airport experience.

I do not mention their names so as not to reward them with publicity and have nothing t gain by mentioning them in this article.

You can feel the attitude of these airline employees in their reponses when confronted with complaints about cancelled flights with no compensation, chronic delays, understaffed  counters and lost luggage by sitting around the board room. They read  letters aloud, either laughing at the passengers vitriol or “compete” to see who has the angriest letter. When an incident is so aggregious to attract the attention of the media, the airlines look at this as free advertising

There is a theory help among those that run “low cost” carriers that goes more or less like this; passengers will always chose the lowest fare when they fly no matter how horrific their past experience.  Studies have shown that while we may choose another carrier at a higher price once or even twice,  over time we will return to the carrier with what appears to be the lowest price no matter how rude the service or how long the delay.  The management of these “low cost” carriers know this.

I say “low cost” because while the base fare they quote may appear to be low, once you add on fees for fuel, luggage, carry on luggage and your seat, it is often higher than one f the major carriers that allow free luggage and does not charge for these other services we are used to having as part of the price of a ticket.

Recently I have noticed that those that work for the airline also know that management does not pay attention to complaints and as a result they are not held accountable for their actions. They are free to treat passengers with equal disdain especially when they are asked to put forth any extra effort to assist a handicapped passenger or someone that does not speak English very well.

I have witnessed an attendant address a group of passengers waiting to disembark by saying “You idiots heard the announcement so get out of my way” and another responded to a question from another passenger.”You fly this airline all the time because I have seen you so stop asking me stupid questions!”

The attendants will also use the precious overhead for their personal luggage forcing passengers to check luggage at a fee.

So what are we, as passengers, to do? If you have flown out of Fort Lauderdale lately you know the airline that shall not be given free publicity.

Perhaps a coalition of airline passengers for those of us that travel toCosta Rica ore than once a year to negotiate a waiver of fees or special discount?

The bottom line is that only through hurting their bottom line will we as passengers be able to effect a change…or is it impossible? If you have had an “incident” on this carrier or have a suggestion on how to address this situation, unlike the airline, I am interested in hearing from you.

Please comment below about any experiences you have had with airlines and any thoughts if we can make them accountable for their actions…..if there is a way……..or is it like ICE or Amnet in Costa Rica, where we are forced to accept their downtime on their service and deal with rude customer service reps?

Max Gomez

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2 Comments

  1. Joe de Tambor said:

    The solution I offer is to use American Airlines. I have used that airline for six years, including a flight in April and May, 2012 and the service was very adequate and courteous. I have used both economy and business class. The only benefits I could see in business class was *slightly* more leg room and the food which was, of course, included in the higher cost I paid for the ticket.

    The only gripe I have is that they have changed flight schedules over the years so that they no longer have a non-stop flight from Los Angeles, California to Juan Santamaria International. Coming back through Miami is horrible, but that is due to the security measures by Homeland Security due to 9/11 and the expected drug traffic that regularly goes through there so there are even search dogs walking through the airport. None of which is the fault of the airline carrier. By the way, those dogs pay for their keep…I have seen more than one person in handcuffs with his human and dog police escorting him out of the airport.

    One caveat: Americal Airlines was just bought by United Airlines so I’ll wait to see if that causes any change in the AA service.

  2. Joe de Tambor said:

    A *CORRECTION* and additional news about American Airlines. In the above post dated 7 March 2013 I stated “…Americal [sic] Airlines was just bought by United Airlines…” This is corrected to read: American Airlines announced on 14 February 2013 that it would be merging with U.S. Airways.

    UPDATE: Since the 14 February announcement it has become clear that the merger still has several kinks to be ironed out before it will become final. As recently as 22 March 2013 it has been reported that the merger won’t be consummated until American is out of bankruptcy. Once the merger is finalized it will create a corporation that will become the largest airline carrier business in the world and will be a competitor to United Airlines and other airline companies.

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