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Passengers stranded at JFK arrive in T&T

By Renuka Singh

CARNIVAL-BOUND passengers who were stranded in New York, which was crippled by a snow storm, have all been flown in, according to Caribbean Airlines.

The airline leased two additional planes to get stranded passengers into Trinidad for Carnival.

With hundreds of flights cancelled and delayed by snow storms in New York since Friday, many Trinidad-bound travellers faced the possibility of being snowed in at JFK Airport.

Clint Williams, CAL's communication manager, yesterday said all travellers who planned to fly in over the weekend were already in the country thanks to the two wet-leased aircraft.

"As of 10.30 p.m. (Saturday) our last plane with the last of the stranded passengers was in the air.

"So everyone who wanted to be here for Carnival would be waking up in Trinidad this morning (Sunday)," Williams said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"Everything is back on schedule and the last of the disrupted passengers are in the country," he said.

"I want to thank the passengers for understanding that the issue was out of our control, it was a force of nature but at least everyone who intended to be here is here," he said.

CAL was facing serious backlash from irate passengers over the past few days with angry travellers taking to social networking sites to criticise the airline.

The passengers complained that CAL representatives were unable to give details on alternative arrangements, leaving them in a quandary, with some describing their interaction with CAL frontline staff as one of the "worst experiences ever."

On Saturday, Williams explained that the airline expected its heaviest passenger loads between the Wednesday and Friday before Carnival.

Over the weekend, a blizzard shut down operations at the usually busy JFK airport with as many as 1,700 flights cancelled and others detained by the inclement weather.

Among the disrupted passengers were a number of Trinidadians unable to get home. Many of them braved the blizzard to camp out at the airport hoping the weather let up in time for planes to depart.

Though they arrived later than planned, several mas camps remained open late last night to facilitate costume collection. —See Page 23

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