by Dave Rodney
A New York based marketing executive says her dream cruise to the Caribbean to celebrate her sister’s 50th birthday was ruined recently after she was “terrorized” at the Montego Bay airport on her return trip to the US earlier this week by two security officers near the boarding gate.
Junny Hibbert, originally from Kingston, Jamaica told Caribbean Times her vacation turned into a nightmare when she was plucked from a priority boarding line on an American Airlines flight 2238 from Montego Bay to Miami on Tuesday January 9 and humiliated with an invasive search in full view of other passengers.
“I am a TSA pre-approved frequent flyer with Global Access, and I had already done security checks in Montego Bay so I was not anticipating any issues after joining the boarding line from the airport’s VIP lounge. Up to that point, the airport hospitality in Montego Bay was perfect”, Hibbert told Caribbean Times.
“Then every everything changed when an airline worker informed me that I was selected for additional security checks and I was handed over to two impolite, crass and rude young men who started the ordeal. I was asked to sit down and take off my shoes so they could swab my feet and then my hands. I was then asked to remove my phone from its case. I was forced to enter my password so they could inspect my phone, which they did in great detail, including an examination of my Kindle to see what I was reading. I felt violated with this unwarranted invasion of my privacy, I felt more dehumanized than a street criminal”, she complained.
“But the terror continued. The young men who clearly had no training in enhancing customer experience then turned their attention towards my hand luggage. Every item in my bag was taken out and scrutinized on a bench in full view of passing curious fellow passengers. The two young men carefully inspected my soiled dirty laundry and all my personal effects with apparent glee. After a sloppy attempt to throw back my stuff in the bag, I was allowed to rejoin the end of the boarding line, almost a half an hour later”, Hibbert lamented.
“After this humiliating ordeal, I certainly have no plans to return home anytime soon. I perfectly understand the importance of security checks but in my case, there were no courtesies, no explanations and no apologies. As a Jamerican you want to recommend your beautiful island to all your friends. Up to this point Jamaica was a beautiful experience and I was impressed with the new amenities at the airport. You want to shout about how nice Jamaica is, tell everybody to run come. But experiences like this leave a bitter taste and they don’t help the cause”, she protested.
Hibbert has since made a complaint to her airline as well as to the Northeast Diaspora Board through Mr. Irwine Clare. Attempts to reach the airline in Montego Bay for comment proved futile.
Marketing executive Junny Hibbert says her dream vacation turned into a nightmare after a humiliating and invasive search by two young men at the airport in Montego Bay