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Cape Verde Business - Why is it so bad?

Because nobody cares? A study from TACV

Here is a report from the InvestinCV website written by a frustrated American of Cape Verde origin about his own experience with the national flag carrier.

"Local and international flights are consistently late or delayed. On one trip, the flight from Boston to Praia was delayed to the next day. I've experienced long flight delays in my air travels, for example, because of bad weather or equipment problems ... but someone always provides you with a reason for the delay. I suspect in some cases, they make up excuses. But still, they at least acknowledge the customer. Not so with TACV. They give no explanations. Nothing. Could they care less? What I've heard from others is that this is not an unusual occurrence.
Confirmations are needed. If you buy an airline ticket from TACV for a certain travel itinerary, you better make sure that you contact them again and again to confirm that the flights are leaving at the time that they originally told you. In the case of TACV, it's not that they push the departure times back a couple hours. No, in many cases they advance the departure times by a couple hours ... and they don't warn you. Just this week on a trip from Praia to Boston, I was thankful that I reconfirmed because the flight was advanced 2 hours earlier. A couple American business colleagues of mine were not so lucky. On a trip planned trip from Praia to Fogo, TACV advanced the departure time by 1 hour and by the time they got to the check-in desk, the flight was already airborne ... without them. As if that was bad enough, a few days later, my colleagues missed the return flight as well ... TACV pulled the same stunt on the return.
My colleagues failed to heed my warning to call TACV to reconfirm their return flight. So was it the fault of my colleagues? Where on earth today do you need to "reconfirm" your travel arrangements. This is a thing of a bygone era. Government officials can "hijack" your confirmed, scheduled, paid-for local flight. Yes, TACV is a government-owned airline and government ministers can simply call the airline at the last minute and force TACV operators to cancel an entire flight, inconveniencing dozens of passengers, so that they can use the aircraft on their own schedule. Imagine that! There is nothing that demonstrates greater contempt for customers. I guess the customers can always book new flights. Who cares what havoc was created by any changes to the customers' original plans?
You've paid for your flight and confirmed your departure times. Guess what? That doesn't mean you actually have a seat! That's right .. believe it or not, there are dozens of instances where paid, confirmed passengers are told that their seats have been reassigned to others (typically TACV employees and their friends who didn't have confirmed seats). The dreaded overbooking problem. But they don't tell anyone about the overbooking situation as is the common practice among reputable airlines who will offer to give a free ticket to someone who volunteers to give up a seat on an overbooked flight. To make matters worse, they won't even put you up in a hotel and pay for your meals when they bump you off an international trip. This happened to a friend of mine just today. He sent me a text message about his ordeal.
They will leave your bags behind to make the weight clearances. Well, I can understand that in the interest of safety, an airline may be forced to leave some bags behind so that the aircraft is not carrying weight in excess of safety limits. The problem is that Cape Verdeans travel heavy with luggage up to the gills. They will put 10 pieces of luggage plus frozen fish in coolers into the aircraft's hold. Now this is also a practice of aeons past. On an international flight, can't TACV enforce some standards? Yes, some ignorant customer may be upset, but would you rather lose your luggage or have someone's fish-water spill all over your bags because their cooler broke in the cargo hold? Look, this isn't some picnic we're going on.
The in-flight service is OK but the flight attendants treat people like they are stupid. From the moment you enter the aircraft, they try to force you to show them your boarding pass to tell you where your seat is. Listen lady, I can not only read, I can also count. I can even find my seat in a stadium. I don't need you to tell me how to find seat 15B. I imagine it's right next to seat 15A and both those seats are to be found immediately after I pass row 14. What am I missing? Same thing with international immigration and custom forms. They come, row by row, and ask to see your form to check it. Listen lady, it's really none of your business what's on my immigration or custom forms. If you asked whether I need help filling out the form that's one thing. But, if you insist that I show you the form even after I said, "thank you, but I don't need your help" ... that's another thing.
In-flight attendants wear their condescending attitude like some badge of honor. It even extends to the use of the toilets. The one at the front of the aircraft is apparently reserved for the high and mighty crew. The commoners are relegated to the toilets in the middle and back of the plane. So if you happen to be sitting in 3A, there's no chance that you can use the toilet that is a few rows ahead of you. I've never heard of such a thing in my travels anywhere else in the world.
I've reserved my worst TACV horror story for last. About two years ago, I was travelling from Sao Vicente to Praia for a business meeting with the president of the country's stock market. The flight was scheduled to leave near midnight. Now, for such an important meeting I was taking no chances. I arrived at the old Sao Pedro airport about two hours ahead of time. Of course, there was not a single employee in sight to check me in. I waited in the "lounge" area - really a set of tables near the little restaurant - just a few steps from the check-in area which was blocked from view by a wall. No one announced the arrival or departures of any aircraft. With about 20 minutes to go to departure time, I became quite concerned. I entered the check-in area only to realize that lo and behold, the agent was now there, the flight was there and preparing to depart. The agent said she would not let me board the aircraft with the other passengers although I had no luggage (except a small carry-on bag with my change of clothes) and a paid ticket.
She point-blank refused to check me in. There were a total of about 10 other passengers who had already checked in and were waiting just a few feet away from me to board a flight that had 68 seats (including 58 empty ones). I explained the situation to the agent, that I had an important meeting, that she never made any announcements or called for passengers, and that I had no luggage to check. All she had to do was give me a boarding pass and let me enter with the other passengers who were all still standing there waiting to board. She basically laughed in my face and told me that I was at fault. She said I had no choice but to await the next flight to Praia which was to leave at 4:30am. I also had to pay a fine to re-book onto this flight! How nasty and vindictive can you be to a customer?
I asked to speak to a supervisor and she sneered at me that she was the one in charge. So I sat there for another 15 minutes watch the other 10 people board and the flight then left without me. I then had to wait another 4 hours for the next flight. I left for Praia on the 4:30am flight, so I ultimately made it to my meeting ... but I must have looked like pure hell since I got no sleep that night thanks to TACV. The nasty and vindictive attitude of the agent that night is something I will never forget. I realized at that moment that TACV could never be a successful business if this woman was an example of the managers of the company ."