Jimmy Roque Martínez
HAVANA TIMES – My compatriots say that Cubana de Aviacion is the worst airline company in the world. This, however, is not what my brief travel experience suggests. Recently, I traveled from Mexico to Havana with Mexico’s Interjet, and I do not have pleasant memories of my journey.
I had fastened a small grocery cart I’d bought in Mexico to my checked luggage. It’s something we felt we needed down here – the ones they sell in Havana are very expensive and of terrible quality. I hadn’t even mentioned anything over e-mail to make it a surprise.
I was the one surprised, however, while waiting for my luggage at the Jose Marti International Airport: the grocery cart had no wheels. I was so shocked that, for an instant, I thought it wasn’t actually my luggage. To be precise, parts of the wheels were still left – the central, beat-up axis.
When one comes home from a journey, one wants to leave the airport as quickly as possible, particularly if you have to deal with Cuban Customs officials, so unkind and ever willing to fine you or confiscate your belongings. Despite my desire to get out of that airport, I still felt the need to complain about this.
I headed to the complaints office of the Mexican airline. The person who was supposed to be there to receive customers wasn’t there. There were three other people waiting for her.
When the employee arrived, she said that my complaint could not be registered as the airline company assumes no responsibility for the wheels of luggage. She also said that this was the case everywhere in the world, to try and convince me that the decision was fair.
One person complained because one of the wheels of her suitcase had been broken, another because a backpack strap had been torn off and a third individual (a Mexican woman) because her luggage had been opened.
Only the Mexican woman’s complaint was accepted, the rest of us were unable to demand any compensation for the damage to our belongings. We weren’t even able to find out whether our luggage was damaged in Cuba or Mexico.
It’s inconceivable that an airline company should not assume responsibility for damage caused to customer belongings, which are entrusted to their care, paying an exorbitant sum of money for it.
We can only imagine the terrible way in which luggage is handled and the many wheels and luggage parts that are systematically damaged if such a no-compensation policy has been included in these regulations.
This constitutes a bad and irresponsible service, even if it’s a policy implemented worldwide (as the official told me). If that were the case, then it’s a poor service of global proportions.
If the damage is caused by airport employees (in Cuba or Mexico), it is also the airline’s responsibility to demand reparations from these airports.
I am still without a grocery cart, as, without wheels, the one I have is entirely useless.
Thank you, Interjet, for bringing me home safely, I hope I never again have the need to board one of your planes.