This morning at about 4:30AM my mother, stepfather, and I were at the airport in Antigua, and finding out that the woman behind the Liat ticket counter was also the person who would help my stepfather through security and also up to the plane. It was quite interesting to see the way that so few people were doing so many things, taking boarding passes at the gate as well as everything else. It is clear that Liat has done quite a good job at cross-training its staff in Antigua, even though it was a bit irritating to go to one elevator, march to another, and then march to the first again to finally get onto the tarmac and go off to the plane that was to take us to Barbados. We had planned a trip that offered a bit of puddle-jumping but ended up getting a bit more than we had bargained for.
At first, the trip went according to plan. We took off in the gathering dawn at 6AM to Dominica, an island I had never been to before, and after a short flight of around half an hour or so, we landed on the green island with a small airstrip and a very small and cute airport. We picked up some people and luggage and were soon up in the air again. It was at this point that things began to go awry. It was announced from the cabin that instead of going straight to Barbados as we had been scheduled to do, we instead went to St. Lucia, where we dropped off some people and picked up enough to have entirely full flight, which led me to be quite witty. I even managed to see my luggage being brought back to the plane because it had been removed in error. After all of that was sorted out, we were in the air and back to Barbados.
Only, instead of having about an hour in Barbados to maybe get something to drink, we only had enough time to get through the metal detector in the Bridgetown airport and then immediately board the plain to Argyle in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after which we were all reunited with our well-traveled luggage after having had a bit more island hopping than we had planned on. What happened? It appears that our little plane had to serve as a replacement for a plane that was supposed to have gone between St. Lucia and Barbados, as is evident by the fact that some of the people we took on in St. Lucia had non-existent seating assignments, considering that the plane only had twelve rows but had seat assignments going up to the normal eighteen rows that were present on some of Liat’s other planes.
It should be noted that all’s well that ends well. Despite the additional leg of a trip that was unexpected and ending up arriving in Barbados with a different flight number than we had taken off from in Antigua, we still ended up getting to St. Vincent in a timely fashion. And it was not as if arriving in Castries’ airport in an unexpected fashion is a bad thing, since Castries is an amazing little airport, and it is one that my stepfather had not been to, since his flights in and out of St. Lucia for the feast were in the larger airport in Vieux Fort. Any airport that has a cemetery next door is going to be a favorite of mine, though, and in general it is clear that the Caribbean airports that Liat serves are in general small airports where the same people have to do the same things and where it is even necessary at times to send planes to unexpected places in order to serve the needs of one’s customers. I hope the next time that I end up unexpectedly arriving on an island, it is a new place. It could happen.