Woman, nieces threaten lawsuit over CAL tickets affected by pandemic

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A Caribbean Airlines plane –

AN attorney representing a family of three is threatening legal action against Caribbean Airlines (CAL) for money they lost after they bought tickets to New York but were unable to use them after the country’s borders were closed for the covid19 pandemic in March 2020.

In a pre-action letter sent to CAL, attorney Richard Jaggasar, who represents Maajida, Aliya and Anastacia Mohammed – a woman and her nieces – said they bought three round-trip tickets on February 6, 2020, to travel to New York on August 21, 2020, and return ten days later.

They paid US$1,646.79 for the tickets.

Jaggasar said the borders were closed on March 22, 2020, and all flights were grounded. The Mohammeds visited CAL’s offices at Piarco Airport to ask about their tickets and were told the tickets would hold their value and were valid until February 7, 2021.

Jaggasar said they were also told no penalties would be incurred.

In January 2021, the attorney said his clients again contacted CAL to confirm the status of the tickets and were told the tickets were on hold for another year because of international border closures and limited resources.

Jaggasar said the situation was further exacerbated by the state of emergency which took effect from May-November 2021.

In February 2022, the three again visited CAL’s head office and were told that in March 2021, a decision was taken to convert tickets to credit notes for all passengers, to expire on March 3, 2022. The credit notes, the attorney said, had to be used to pay for flights and could not be used to get refunds.

Jaggasar is alleging that CAL altered the terms and conditions of its contract to passengers but the new alteration, setting a deadline for the use of the value of the tickets, was unreasonable and unfair.

“At trial, my clients shall contend it is an unfair contract term to unilaterally covert tickets to credit notes which lose value as the cost of flights fluctuated and further it is unreasonable to do so without informing my clients.”

He said the three will also contend it was a misrepresentation to tell them in 2020 and 2021 that the tickets would retain their value when the airline decided to convert their value to a credit note.

The three will be asking for damages in the amount of the cost of the tickets and an additional $1,500 as special damages.