Travelling blues with TravelCayman

| 14/10/2020 | 81 Comments

So I am flying tomorrow, Thursday, on the British Airways flight back to Cayman. It’s 10:45pm at night in the UK and I still don’t have the letter clearing us to travel. They are waiting on a signature on the letters, I assume from someone high in authority. I was told we would get the letter days ago and then earlier today it would come a short while later. In my latest phone call I was told I would definitely get it tonight, my time.

The stress this has caused is huge. Not knowing whether we are travelling tomorrow has been an underlying source of stress for the last few weeks and it is culminating in them (supposedly) getting the letters out less than 12 hours before the flight. How can this be? It is absurd to believe that any tourists or visitors are going to accept this. It is a complete joke.

When Alden said we shouldn’t expect perfection, he wasn’t kidding! The whole experience has been a complete disaster. Don’t get me wrong, all the individuals I have talked to want to help and obviously care a great deal about what they are doing. However, there is no strategic direction or leadership. That much is clear.

Right now I am going to bed and I believe there is only a 50/50 chance we will fly home tomorrow. This is not how you treat your citizens and Alden & co should be ashamed that this is the kind of nonsense they are making people deal with.

This comment was originally posted on: TravelCayman struggling with demand


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Comments (81)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Very simply Cayman islands are third world. Anything CIG third world. Plan on nothing they do will be functional. They are masters at pretending and turning millions into a hundred. Returning to Cayman islands is an exercise in futility unless you know someone who knows Bush, Juju, or John john or you just plane luck out. You want to return? Get in line a pray.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CNS -anyway you can update your readers on whther the author actually made it today?

    CNS: I really don’t know who the author is. Hopefully he/she will update us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think he said he had arrived if he is Jody.

    • Anonymous says:

      – From the person who wrote the original post –
      Yes we arrived. Whole thing was a lot more stressful than it needed to be. Our Letter didn’t come until very very late. From talking to different people on the flight it seems that some people got their letters a few days before and some didnt even have them when they arrived at the airport. I heard directly that some people had to contact the London office to sort it out when they were at the airport trying to check in.
      There is no reason that most letters couldn’t be sent at least a week out if the authorities are organised with property inspections and chasing up needed information. I was asked repeatedly to provide information that had already been provided.
      One thing I wanted to mention to those in charge. When you are on the other side of this, as a traveller, you have no idea what is going on behind the scenes and there is absolutely no communication back about what is happening or what the process is.
      If you are going to make it a requirement that people have to have a letter authorising travel back home (or even visitors coming) then look at it from the travellers perspective. All I knew when I went to bed on Wednesday was that I had to have the letter to travel and I didnt have it for a flight a few hours later. The whole process smacked of disorganisation and a government in operational crisis.
      What is clear is that unless there is a radical change Cayman will not be able to operate like this for anything but the occasional flight and certainly not for visitors wishing to come.

      • J|) says:

        “All I knew when I went to bed on Wednesday was that I had to have the letter to travel and I didnt have it for a flight a few hours later.”

        I wouldn’t have been able to sleep.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the Governor, with his enthusiasm for the military, could solve what is a simple logistics problem by getting the British army to deal with it. He can fly a team here to do the contingency planning for flying in troops and bringing in ships and supplies during quarantine conditions and after a natural disaster – how much easier must it be to run a system where they are dealing with only passengers and luggage, fully intact and operational airport and pre agreed accommodation? Any decent staff officer team would have this sorted in a week. Hell, he can even have them mentor the Cayman Regiment officers and they can take it over . Of course it would make CIG look like compete t@#$s but I think we had all worked that out long ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting comment. I’m currently back in the UK and when the COVID-19 drive-through/walk-in testing was first introduced here it was staffed by the military and worked perfectly. Now it’s been handed over to private contractors it’s a cluster****. My local test centre is two miles away, every time I drive past it there are 4-5 people in all the kit standing round doing nothing but if you try to book a test here the website tells you it’s full booked and sends you to another centre 40-50 miles away. It’s no longer an on demand service, you have to pre-book and without the QR code to confirm a booking they won’t test you. Even if you do get tested now there’s no guarantee you’ll get any result because the contractors are screwing up deliveries of the swabs to the labs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    TravelCayman is a farce. Cayman Airways has very pleasant underemployed staff but that does not mean that it is competent to run the needed programme. I certainly do not want Cayman Airways staff deciding on who is permitted to travel and who is required to quarantine and where. It was a mistake to change the management of this programme at this point.

    • Anonymous says:

      From what I read today, looks like Cayman is out for tourists even in December. Remember that is when it is cold up north and when people want to travel. People will be finding new destinations thru out the winter months. It is really sad that Cayman can’t find a plan to open like other islands are doing. It seems these other places are opening up with a pretest 7 days in advance, a test upon landing, some do a test the 4th day on island, social distancing and masks. No quarantine on these islands so people can go without it interfering with their jobs or their one week vacation plan. I know that I have an opportunity to travel 3x this winter, so I will be looking. Was hoping for Cayman, but will start planning for elsewhere.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How difficult is it to set out a bunch of guidelines, an amount of slots for ‘guests’ and just get on with it. I agree that it’s not the staff’s fault, if you’re the one picking up the phone – you’re not the decision maker… such a total lack of leadership at Cayman Airways, and so long as the CIG keep bailing them out every year there is no chance of change.

  6. Hate to hear this says:

    This is very regrettable and unfortunately it will not improve as the CIG has made the choice that no CV is the top priority.

    No focus on treatments, no focus on successful protocols, just the simple restriction of the movement of people. When you are a hammer; the whole world looks like a nail.

    The CIG won’t doing anything that will relax this situation. They made their decision months ago. CIG will not change course and risk having the CV to the CI for Christmas.

    I can’t imagine how awful it would be to face a separation of family members like these people stated.

    Remember come May – vote. Praying for all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I feel like its going to be a nightmare to get my worker back here next month. They said when I emailed they are changing their system by Friday. Hopefully it will get easier.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’d just like to tell you a story about a donkey that i was exercising with and then i said to him in Japanese “every ting kool?” so what is it with all the stress? I have an idea to fix the dump, cover it in sand and then pretend its not there. The Guv tells me we can meet the Queen one day if we all smile and say nothing so that’s nice.

  9. Wa says:

    Yes 808pm and yet the privileged few with daddy connections can fly up and down from this same location without a care in the world no hindrance even with quarantine rules which they never obey or comply with here nor there, but flaunt and bragging here in London about their connections to government Their reason for travel ? cannot party and abuse drugs and alcohol due to the lock down now in place here in the UK. Traveling there obviously to make a nuisance and spectacle of themselves as they do here all the time. Real sad situation for those who deserve to return.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “ Some decency, common sense and respect need to prevail here.” Well said. 👍👍👍👍

    Why visitors and returning residents are treated with so much disrespect in the first place?!?

    Why are they seen as some sort of villains, “ diseased foreigners”, who want to come to Cayman and infect you and your grandma?

    Why everyone speaks of them as if they are criminals who need to be processed, subjected to tests, isolated, quarantined, monitored, spied on, arrested? Isn’t it how Nazi treated Jewish people during the Holocaust?

    Why is it that being negative is not enough to let them be? Why some want to test them again and again?

    Why is it assumed that they all are infected, but disregard that still traveling?

    Why to subject them to so much stress? To exercise controls or to demonstrate ineptitude of people in charge?

    Lastly, if residents of the Cayman Islands are not allowed to return home, should they apply for an asylum in a country they’re stuck or should they bring the matter to the the UN Human Rights Commission? No one should be left in limbo. Put yourself in their shoes. .

    So please, re evaluate your attitude towards visitors and returning residents. Tone down your fears. In a world where you can be anything……try being KIND!

    • Anonymous says:

      7:20a – That is disgusting. Comparing the Holocaust to a trip to Cayman. Priceless…

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with everything you said apart from the testing. All the positive tests over the last few weeks have been from travellers, so I do think we need to keep doing that, even if it means testing more than once.

      However, you are 100% right that we should not have this negative attitude about them!

      • Anonymous says:

        Have testing 7 days before boarding and a test when arriving and that would eliminate most of the positives in quarantine. Covid is never going to disappear, so get used to it, but a bit of pretesting along with masks and social distancing should keep things to a minimum.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Someone will most likely get an OBE for extraordinary and exceptional service.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Like it or not, Cayman is a diverse community of many cultures that come from all parts of the world. This diversity has benefited and contributed to making Cayman the wealthy island it is today. Cutting off the lifeline of its citizens and residents indefinitely is bordering on being cruel and shows the inadequacies of the people in charge. The whole world is learning to deal with COVID. We can’t live in a bubble forever.

    • Anonymous says:

      We earned our nearly virus-free bubble via early and aggressive lockdowns. That was a product of a few months of scaled hard work and short term sacrifice that hasn’t been put in elsewhere. Don’t lecture on living with a virus and death count when it’s within each nationality’s abilities to starve the virus of new hosts. Not our fault that nobody else wants to do the hard work. We need it without an army or threats of civil war. It’s like arguing that we all need to live with muddy floor tiles forever and mopping is hopeless…mop the floor, and then don’t wear your muddy shoes in the house. Fixed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok I get it so you are happy living in your protected bubble. For how long though? Do you not realize that eventually borders will need to open and guess what? Covid will come in and have a feast with our now unimmunized population. Lockdowns / isolation can only delay the progress of the virus, not stop it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nearly free is the key words. Everyone in the world was in a lockdown. Cayman is still living in a bubble. Wear socks (masks) inside and social distance and wash your hands that should help keep things As healthy as possible.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian who contacted travel time in Sept for Oct return on BA and still have not heard back. So why are Caymanians not being given priority over others?

    • Anonymous says:

      The only people being given priority are those on private jets. Anyone relying on a commercial flight has to not only deal with the fact that the number of inbound seats is massively less than the demand, but the appalling bureaucracy that means that Travel Time, TravelCayman or whatever the latest manifestation is can’t even seem to allocate those seats until the last minute, making any planning of travel by those that don’t have their own jet or the means to hire one impossible (and incidentally meaning that the flights are never full).

    • Sad says:

      Don’t you remember? Their plan is for the wealthy tourists to bail Cayman out of it’s current economic failure. Sorry, they want the plane full of rich people. No room for Caymanians who will stay at home, eat at home…..

    • Anonymous says:

      2:53 am
      If you was a work permit holder you would’ve arrived long ago. Until we make a statement they will keep us under their feet. We have to speak up, speak out and act.

  14. Sher says:

    I haven’t seen my husband in almost 9 months not knowing my faith am depressed and devastated I apply twice to travel time before it suddenly becomes travel Cayman with no reply I try to call travel Cayman on numerous occasions put on hold in the ques for hours once I reach to the closest then the phone just cut off this really frustrating for many family I apply early in October the second to be exact just to spend my anniversary with my husband which is coming up this weekend 18 October please Cayman islands government am writing this text with tear in my eyes please am asking the authorities to do something it is almost a year haven’t seen my husband please help me am mentally depressed..

    • Anonymous says:

      @Sher – I hope that you’re able to reunite with your husband in time for your anniversary. I haven’t seen my husband since January, and our anniversary is next month. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to get here for Christmas…

      Stay strong!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Sher
      I am in the same boat. I have applied and emailed numerous times, with no response. I havent seen my fiancé in over seven months now and he hasn’t seen his kids in over 9 months. He’s hurting and suffering while the government could care less since their family and friends live on island.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Bermuda model, Bermuda model, Bermuda model. Three and a half months into it, it is a good common sense compromise and it works.

    http://www.gotobermuda.com/bta/press-release/bermuda-tourism-authority-update

    • Anonymous says:

      Contrary to what you are trying to portray, tourism is not booming in Bermuda.
      https://www.royalgazette.com/news/health/article/20201014/bermuda-lobbies-us-over-covid-19-safety-status/

      The CDC still has Cayman at Level 3.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you!! Bermuda’s model has been so successful that their biggest hotel just announced that it was closing until 2022. Bermuda’s hotel occupancy rate is no better than ours and they are taking far greater risks with their population than we are. They can keep their model!

        • Anonymous says:

          Just so you know, the Fairmont, made the decision a year ago, that they would shut down for 18 months sometime this year for massive refurbishments. The decision was taken before COVID hit.

          The Bermuda model is working whether you like it or not.

      • Anonymous says:

        #1. Bermuda’s tourist season is basically over. Not year-round.

        #2. Cayman IS NO LONGER listed as a
        Level 3 country by the CDC. It is listed as a safe territory to travel to. Keep up

      • Anonymous says:

        Whoa, tourism is not “booming” but it is doing OK considering the circumstances for tourism in our region.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not just about tourism. Bermuda has business travelers. They come in, do a test, wait for 24 hrs then go about their business. Residence can travel to US and Canada without stressing about returning.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed – the Bermuda model is working with “easier” entry and exit. Just simply look at their figures. They have tested over 400K+ more than Cayman and have less cases than Cayman. Simply look at line 190 at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
      Cayman is line 188
      Bermuda has opened their boarders and with a testing, testing and more testing adaptation, it is working.
      This bubble that we are currently living in is not reality and we have to learn how to adapt and live with COVID-19 as it is not going away.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is working at 10% occupancy comprised largely of staycationers while placing their citizens at greater risk. Not an appealing formula thank you.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the Hotel California.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perfect. We are prisoners here of our own device. Every expat knows that, which is why we get so bent out of shape by the “don’t let the door hit you in the backside comments”. We can always leave – but like to pretend that we are irreplaceable, when the simple reality is that Cayman will always find a willing volunteer to replace us. So long as they actually let them in, of course.

  17. Anonymous says:

    My heart goes out to the person who just posted and other people having to travel home under this stress.

    Likewise I am waiting to see my daughter at Christmas. Our family have not seen her since December 2019 (almost unheard of in our family as we make sure one way or the other to visit her at least every 2-3 months or she comes back home). Her trip in March had to be cancelled due to Covid and another trip in July as she was doing exams and was afraid if she came back she would not be able to leave. We thought we would go in September to see her, but then the Government changed the quarantine from 7 days back to 14 days and it was difficult to get flights and have to quarantine on both ends of the trip. Does the Cayman government expect us to sit and wait until hours before her flight to wonder whether she will be allowed home. Some decency, common sense and respect need to prevail here. The bubble can’t continue indefinitely and family returning home should not be expected to go into a long quarantine over the Christmas holiday and not be able to see family. We are just weeks away from Christmas. What is the plan for all the students coming back? If Cayman Airways can’t even handle what they have now, how to you expect people to book flights post November. You can’t split up families at Christmas by leaving people in limbo. Give us a workable plan which is practical and tested by other countries. Students studying abroad are stressed and need to be assured that all of them will get home and be able to spend time with their families. All of us will follow the law to the letter to keep ourselves, family and the community safe but give us some direction here and a practical solution for all.

    • I haven’t seen my husband in almost 9 months not knowing my faith am depressed and devastated I apply twice to travel time before it suddenly becomes travel Cayman with no reply I try to call travel Cayman on numerous occasions put on hold in the ques for hours once I reach to the closest then the phone just cut off this really frustrating for many family I apply early in October the second to be exact just to spend my anniversary with my husband which is coming up this weekend 18 October please Cayman islands government am writing this text with tear in my eyes please am asking the authorities to do something it is almost a year haven’t seen my husband please help me am mentally depressed..

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a Caymanian who contacted travel time in Sept for Oct return on BA and still have not heard back. So why are Caymanians not being given priority over others?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a Caymanian who contacted travel time in Sept for Oct return on BA and still have not heard back from travelcayman. So why are Caymanians not being given priority over others?

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel for you and other Caymanian families whose children could not make it home from university this past summer for similar reasons. What I am fearful of is that these young Caymanian will start building lives overseas if they feel that their own country has abandoned them. Caymanian brain drain in the making.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said! Some decency, common sense and respect need to prevail here.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Who will be held accountable?

  19. Anonymous says:

    “This is not how you treat your citizens and Alden & co should be ashamed that this is the kind of nonsense they are making people deal with.”

    Unfortunately they don’t care…
    Cayman is a big question mark, a third world country way of life.
    Lack of organization, lack of kindness, lack of educated people.
    Once someone told me it is the way people live in the Island, no rush.

    Good luck 🍀 with your flight ✈️

  20. Amari says:

    Travelcayman is horrible! This whole experience has been stressful and tiring. I’ve spent almost 30usd just to be placed in a queue for over two hours to not even get through. My fiancé lives there by himself without family and it’s been a hard eight months for him. Peoples mental health are deteriorating from this lockdown. If other Caribbean islands can open and create a system to manage this virus Cayman Islands can too

    • Anonymous says:

      The Cayman Islands does not to have a system to manage the virus like other places. We do not have it here and wish to keep it that way. We all stayed in our homes for 6 weeks so that people like you only have to remain confined for 2. We have made the investment, and do not want anyone to throw it away. We have sympathy and compassion and are living by these rules ourselves. TravelCayman needs to greatly improve its responsiveness, but the system is sound.

      • Anonymous says:

        The rules are not the problem. Not being able to apply them is …there is simply no excuse for why they cannot deal with 800 people a month for heavens sake (Cayman Airways pre Covid was handling more seats than that in a single day), or why people wait on line for 2 hours only to be cut off, or why they cannot reply to e mails. Justifying appalling customer service and basic inefficiencies by waving our Covid free status is not an excuse.

        • Anonymous says:

          So you think that magically, because the limit was set at 800, that only 800 people are contacting them?…

    • Anonymous says:

      The airports should be closed fully still. Clear.y every flight in has more and more positives with a higher viral load as the uk and Europe will be back to peak March infection, ICU and death levels by Christmas. You would be mad to board a ba flight this winter, and this is coming Friday a British expat who originally okabned to visit the uk for Xmas to see family.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Geezumpeas! Let us know if you make it in and safe travels.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You went there. So stay there.

    • Anonymous says:

      You dont know why they went. You dont know their situation. Whats your problem? Zero manners or compassion!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t tell if you’re just a troll looking for a response or just plain ignorant. Either way you’re clearly a db.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is such an ignorant comment and shows the narrow mindedness of a certain section of our society. Please don’t tell me how to live my life and I will respectfully do the same for you.
      While I could discuss why me travelling off island was perfectly within my rights and perfectly legitimate, I fear it would be lost on you, based on your stupid comment.
      We have a major problem of groupthink in Cayman where the people making decisions come from the same background and have little context or reason to understand how others live their lives. There is now a major dislocation between those in authority making decisions and many many Caymanians who do not fit the same mould. The disaster of traveltime / travel cayman is one example of where resources and leadership are not being put.

      • Anonymous says:

        1:37 pm, if here is so bad why are you here. You should go somewhere that’s better. If I thought people making. decisions here are stupid I would go some where that better. It sounds you are the stupid one that want to come here so badly and same time saying bad things about here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then don’t complain about a lock down when you had to see your kid off to school in Bristol and could not be bothered to mind you own business by staying here and running your all “seeing” business venture.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where’s your humanity? Don’t you understand that people have family and children abroad. What about people who go off island for cancer treatments? How can you be so heartless?

    • Anonymous says:

      What an ignorant oaf – hopefully not indicative of the average Caymanian. I for one wouldn’t dream of visiting a place populated by locals with this sort of attitude.

  23. Anonymous says:

    A disgrace on the government bodies in charge to treat its residents & citizenry in this fashion, on this issue.
    The U.K. needs to step in , Radio Silence from the Governor here, I notice.
    I do hope the author gets the approval & necessary docs that are needed to travel. Please keep us updated. Good luck.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Governor would just like to echo the comments of the Premier. Awards all around. #worldclass

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