Conflicting reports on today’s airport ‘go slow’

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The Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA) is refuting claims that a ‘go-slow’ being executed by staff is affecting flight schedules.

Reports reaching our newsroom today, were that the actions of the staff at the VC Bird International Airport had been causing flights (including international departures) to be delayed.

However, while confirming that there was indeed a “go-slow” in progress, ABAA CEO, Euletta Francis, insisted that all scheduled flights were on time.

Francis explained that the airport management was not advised of the “go-slow” beforehand, and had only been made aware of the situation this morning. She added that the reason for the “go-slow” was not made explicitly clear by the staff.

But a well-placed source at the airport authority gave several instances of flight delays at the airport today. The first being a Delta flight schedule to leave Antigua at 4:05 pm that left at 5:55 pm. Another instance was that of a Jet Blue flight scheduled for departure at 4 pm that was still on the airport tarmac at the time of this publication. American Airlines flights were delayed up to three hours sources said.

According to the CEO, Saturday is one of, if not the busiest day of operations for the airport, so it is understandable why the staff would choose such action though she thought it to be very unfortunate.

The CEO asserted that though, she says, flight schedules have not been affected, the sheer traffic at the airport means lines have not been moving at an optimal pace. Francis shared that the Authority had put certain mitigating measures in place for industrial action such as this and said those measures are working as expected.

Francis assured that the ABAA management would work together, along with the staff and the union representing them, to bring a speedy resolution to the situation and work hard to prevent any similar recurrences.

The source indicated that the go-slow will continue into tomorrow.

18 Comments

  • This is a flat out lie by the airport CEO. I was traveling on the Delta flight at 4:05 and was stuck in security checkpoint for 3 hours. The workers at the security deliberately slowed the process and caused the delay. I will never travel back to Antigua again because of this.

    • None of us will ever visit Antigua again. Abuse tourists and starve, for all we care. No excuse for all the troubles they caused innocent tourists

    • Exactly what Mike said. Flat out lie. They would let 2 people through the security line every 20-30 minutes. I assume managers ( workers without orange vests) finally took over one of the 4 lines and finally around 4 pm they opened another line ( workers without orange vests). Every flight was delayed and to say no flights were delayed is an outright lie… EVERY flight was delayed. Must maddening thing ever and no announcements were made as to what was happening. And after 3 hours , once on the plan , the pilot announced the bag handlers were doing the same “ work stoppage “ process. Stood for 3 hours in the security line then sat on a hot plane for 2 more waiting for bags. Everyone on my flight missed connecting flights out of Atlanta and had to get a hotel overnight. Fortunately delta issued hotel vouchers.

  • I have to agree with mike Smith. I was also on this delta flight. Details here… 1. Person checking initial passport- there was one person, then 1+1 on lunch eating at the desk while we all waited on our feet for hours. Antigua citizens would be picked from the lines to cut to the front. 2. At one point there was no one checking initial passports and that line was not moving 3. Security checkpoint was going through everyone’s carry on bags and making them open them and asking what objects were 4. When they stopped this process they then started to let 2 bags through at a time and then stop for 10 minutes. I personally watched a man on the security belt stand there with his bag for more than 40 minutes. 5. We ran through the airport to get on an empty plane and wait for passengers 6. Once all passengers on board and we thought we could leave —- process now at 4 hours. We had to wait an hour for our bags to be loaded. Sorry for this country —- we will never be coming back.

    I have videos of this process —- of people deliberately not working

    As a result we missed our connection and are forced to stay overnight.

  • I went through V C Bird today. Lines were long and flights did leave late.

    Odd that the union did not disclose the reason and give more advance notice so that travelers could get to the airport earlier.

    One of the security scanner teams was scanning one bag every few minutes.

    Overall the manner in which the union handled this very poorly. It will leave a negative impression of Antigua for many potential tourists.

  • The V. C. Bird International Airport is by far the worst airport I’ve flown out of. On December 14, 2019, I arrived at 1pm, (three hours in advance of my flight), got my bag checked, then got in line for immigration that leads you to security.

    I got in line at 1:22pm, and left security at 4:00pm. My flight was supposed to leave at 4:05pm. The security staff decided to go on strike, while we were standing there. So no one could get through security. Luckily, our captain waited for all passengers to board! Then we were informed it would take some time for airport staff to get the luggage on board. My flight ended up leaving Antigua at 5:57pm. Needless to say, I did not (nor anyone else) make the connecting flight out of Atlanta. Therefore I had to spend the night in Atlanta and have a flight on Sunday, December 15, 2019 to return to my original destination.

    Beware- if you ever go to Antigua, you need to get to the airport extra early, but who knows if you’ll get out on time! Unfortunately, I will not be visiting Antigua ever again due to the events that occurred at the airport!

  • When I was leaving Antigua from that airport in January 2018 it left a bad taste in my mouth (and that was even without there being any job action at that time). Very inefficient in their movement of people. Workers seemed to not even be trying to get people moving/processed in a timely fashion.

  • Why was there no Antigua Observer reporter on the scene, interviewing passengers?

  • Am so sorry for those passengers who had to over night at other airport . Did anyone bother to find out why did the staff went on go slow.

  • Bags were not loaded on aircraft that were delayed by the union action. I am home 24 hrs later and my luggage is still in Antigua.
    It was spiteful, petulant and not a good reflection on Antigua and Barbuda.

  • I agree with the other travellers. Why the lie? All flights were delayed! We got the point that there was industrial action, but passengers should not have to wait 2 hours in a line to pass through security. You lose sympathy of the passengers. A delay yes, but not that length of time to be standing up! Believe me when I tell you that many many tourists WILL NOT RETURN to Antigua.

  • Antigua Airport officials need to pull up their socks , This is rather disappointing to see that people in That Country is so Behind and Ridiculous to implement such a stupid procedure I think they are capable of doing better in That International Airport

  • I was on the 4:05 Delta flight. It was delayed for a couple hours while we waited for the ground crew to get around to loading the plane so we could leave. This after a 3 1/2 hour wait to clear the line for passport control and security. There seemed to be an abundance of staff not doing anything all over the airport. This is the 2nd year in a row that we have experienced this slow process for security, but this past Saturday was over the top. We were told there was a strike. As a result of our 2 hour delay leaving Antigua, we missed our connection home. Fortunately Delta put us in a hotel and we got home a day late. Its a nice Island, but I am not sure it is worth the hassle to deal with this. At this point, it seems unlikely we will try Antigua a 3rd time. If you treat visitors this way, they will stop coming and then you won’t have to worry about that job.

  • Totally unprofessional this matter, is the face of Antigua and Barbuda. My family don’t want to hear about Antigua anymore, we had a plan to come back next year to Varandah and we canceled already, we are going to St Kitts that had better service in general. From Airport staff, Taxi Drivers, ST. John’s city are to bad service. I feel sorry for that country. St. John’s is too ugly and some areas are too nasty, I can’t understand how this city receives plenty Cruise ships.. Nothing to show in the city and the market area is to ghetto and really nasty.
    The advertise 365 beaches but when I checked Google maps and start counting I don’t find more than 200 so I don’t know that number where is coming from.. Is a old slogan that they repeat and even the most locals don’t knows more than 30 beaches. That airport at the end of our trip, was the water who fill the cup. Unprofessional and lasy staff, incompetence of the management.. What else? Simple, never come back.

  • Same result here. In line for 3 hours. They would let two people go through then stop for 20 minutes. Our flight left almost two hours late and we got stuck in Atlanta. CEO not acknowledging this is ridiculous. We won’t be back.

  • Our relaxing trip in Antigua was ruined by airport personnel. As mentioned above there was 1 person that was supposed to be handling the initial passport check but she was instead much too busy with lunch to take customers. The employees at immigration were also just sitting in their booths, I guess looking at menus. At first I thought maybe they were just on “island time” but it soon became clear that this was all orchestrated. Security checkpoint was going through EVERY bag to further delay the process. The fact that “management” says that they were not aware of the situation is a big fat lie. Where were they? Don’t they have cameras? How could they miss groups of employees just standing around, chatting, eating and ignoring passengers? What a joke!

  • Antigua is off our list forever and we will advise others not to visit. Let the airport employees eat dirt, for the way they treated tourists

  • I was there on Saturday, when these idiots decided to hold passengers as hostages for over 3 hours!! They joked and danced, while 1000s stood and were not allowed access to water or restrooms! Then they decided not to release our luggage so it could be loaded on our plane! I and several 1000 people will NEVER set foot on that island again! The government should have stepped in and had the military take over and Terminate all the offenders!! I will spend my $$$ on islands that actually want my business!!

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