Fly Jamaica…

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I flew Fly Jamaica on my recent trip to New York. I chose it because the return flight from JFK is at noon rather than 6 am like American Airlines or Jet Blue. AA even forces you to negotiate Miami’s vast and boring airport, it has no direct flight from Kingston to New York.

I had no idea what to expect with Fly Jamaica as its fairly new and is a collaborative venture between Jamaican and Guyanese interests. In fact i was taken aback by the number of Indian-looking passengers on board till i remembered that the flight originated in Georgetown, Guyana.

By coincidence the lady sharing my row also looked Indian. We both assumed the other was Guyanese till we started talking; she turned out to be Indo-Jamaican while I’m from the subcontinent itself, though resident in Jamaica for 25 years now.

The plane seemed much larger than the ones that usually ply between the Caribbean and North America. It was a Boeing 757. No wonder Fly Jamaica can afford to allow Economy passengers two check in items instead of the measly one almost all airlines now allow you. What’s the point of travelling if you can’t bring back all kinds of goodies with you?

And perhaps because they’re new and want to make an impression Fly Jamaica also serves a hot meal in-flight. On the way there it was delicious ackee and saltfish and on the return leg I had curry chicken. Good quality too. The film showing wildlife in Guyana looked fascinating but i’d forgotten to get one of the free earphones so couldn’t hear the soundtrack. The images were truly compelling, i couldn’t believe the wide variety of creatures you can find in Guyana. I’ll definitely visit now that there’s a direct flight.

Curry chicken lunch on Fly Jamaica
Curry chicken lunch on Fly Jamaica

Out of curiousity I looked up Fly Jamaica’s website to find out more about their background. I had heard that it was a former Air Jamaica pilot and a Guyanese pilot who started the airline. Here’s what the website says:

Fly Jamaica Airways began with a dream to create a truly regional airline, using local talent and with an emphasis on providing a truly local experience to its customers. A full-service, local airline that would bring the Diaspora, and the world, home to the Caribbean.
Fly Jamaica Airways is a partnership between Chief Executive Officer and Guyanese-born Captain Paul Ronald Reece, and Jamaican shareholders, including Chief Operating Officer, Captain Lloyd Tai and Manager of In-Flight Services, Christine Steele. The Company was incorporated in Kingston, Jamaica on September 7, 2011 and started with a Boeing 757 aircraft. We faced a rigorous start-up process, including meeting national and international requirements.
Through the stewardship of our experienced management and dedication of our amazing employees, we proved to aviation regulators that we have what it takes to be a world-class airline.
On August 24, 2012, Fly Jamaica Airways conducted its demonstration flight from Kingston, Jamaica to Georgetown, Guyana, as part of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority’s (JCAA) approval process.  On August 31, 2012 the JCAA issued our Air Operators Certificate (AOC). Fly Jamaica Airways has also satisfied rigorous requirements for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), in order to operate as a commercial US-registered carrier. Now, we look forward to taking to the skies and sharing our passion for safe, reliable and enjoyable aviation with the world!

I generally don’t buy things just because they’re locally produced but if you give me local AND good you have my vote. The service on Fly Jamaica was warm, friendly and efficient. I would fly them again. And again.

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

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