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Passengers stranded in Samoa vent anger at airline

Several passengers who were confirmed to travel on Inter Island Airways are furious that they were not notified that the flights on Monday (Samoa Time) had been cancelled.

After receiving calls about the issue, Samoa News sent inquiries to Inter Island Airways manager Esther Sene Prescott yesterday afternoon, who has yet to respond.

One passenger told Samoa News that he received refunds for their tickets from the airline, and this allowed him to book a flight back to Pago Pago with Polynesian.

“If only it was that easy; I got to Fagali’i and there was a long list of people on stand by,” he said. The man, who chose not to be named, said the timing for the airline to cancel out on passengers was terrible because people were returning home from their holiday vacation in Samoa.

“I wonder if this will remain when they operate in other islands of the Pacific?’ he asked. 

Samoa Observer reports that passengers stuck in Samoa were demanding answers from the airline about the lack of notice given and the complaints go as far back as Boxing Day (December 26) last month.

One such passenger is Naomi Liuava, who was booked to travel on Monday, is very disappointed with the way passengers have been treated.

She told the Samoa Observer, “I was confirmed and booked to leave on Monday at 5:30 in the evening from Faleolo. I came from Vaisala in Savaii to Faleolo where I waited for over three hours, but not a word from Inter Island.

“I lost patience and went to the nearby Western Union booth and the lady there was kind enough to call the airline for me. I was then told that a shuttle would come to Faleolo to pick up passengers.

“I didn’t even know my flight was cancelled until the lady at Western Union told me. The airline did not even have the decency to call its passengers to let them know,” she said.

After waiting for another two hours, Ms. Liuava jumped in a taxi and headed to Fagali’i airport hoping to find some information about her flight.

“I got to Fagalii and was shocked to see so many people there. One of them told me that they she was on standby and had been there since Sunday.

“What gets me so angry is that they (Inter Island) gave us no notice of these cancellations. Some of us have jobs which started yesterday and we missed that day.”

“An explanation needs to be given. This is not our fault and the airline should be held accountable.” Ms. Liuava was given the option of refunding her the money for her ticket and booking a flight on Polynesian Airlines.

“When I went down to the Inter Island Office for my refund I was told that some of the staff were at Fagali’i Airport with the cash.I went to Fagali’i and was told by the staff there that they had no cash.”

“I was given the run-around and it got so frustrating. Now I have been told that the next flight available for Polynesian will be sometime next week, so I am looking to catch the boat back instead.”

Maria Aunese is another victim, according to the Samoa Observer. She was supposed to leave for American Samoa on Sunday.

“So much wasted time and money because of this. I am very angry that there was no notice, no courtesy call to let passengers know that the flight was cancelled.”

“There were people at the airport on Sunday who had been waiting on standby since Boxing Day last year and no one has been given an explanation, only saying that the plane is damaged.”

“Inter Island has a lot of planes so why are we waiting on just one plane? Where are the other planes? People who are booked to leave on that day were bumped off to accommodate those on standby.”

“I’m very sad and very disappointed with the staff of Inter Island. This is their fault and they should be responsible for looking after their passengers. It was our money that was paid to them.”

Unconfirmed reports to Samoa News say that Inter Island Airways has issues regarding their license, which has led to the cancellation of flights, both to Samoa and Manu’a.