Polynesian Airline has resumed flights to Pago Pago. This started on Thursday evening after three days of delays due to technical problems.
But while Polynesian Airline is up and running, Inter-island Airways is reportedly giving refunds to unhappy customers.
A staff member from the local branch told the Sunday Samoan that they hope to be back in business tomorrow. For the past two weeks, Inter-island ceased flying between Samoa and American Samoa as its aircraft underwent maintenance.
It was not possible to get a comment from Inter-island Supervisor Claudia Steffany in Pago Pago before press time yesterday.
About 50 people from Brisbane Australia who were scheduled to fly to American Samoa last Thursday have asked the airline for refunds. Another group of 25 people who travelled from New Zealand for a conference in American Samoa were also affected.
Pastor Albert Atoa – who is travelling with his four grandchildren from New Zealand – is among the stranded passengers. On Friday, they were told that they had to wait until all the people who were supposed to leave last Tuesday were cleared.
“I’m very disappointed with the breakdown in communication,” he said. “We came prepared and we knew that there would be delays but I would’ve thought that some arrangements for us and other people for charter would be done.
“They could’ve been other possible steps to assure that we don’t also miss out on our scheduled flights.”
His daughter Luai Atoa said the delays have cost them dearly. She explained that Inter Island refused to pay for their accommodation.
“We don’t have a lot of money on us,” she said.
“So we’re not sure how things will work today if we don’t get on that plane in the next hours…we also have children that we brought with us so that is the major concern for us.”
Another mother, Tala Alefaio from Brisbane is facing the same problem. Mrs Alefaio said it’s great that they have a plane working but it’s not enough to accommodate for the rest.
“There’s a huge backlog from the other days and there are many more people flocking in from Australia and New Zealand going to the conference,” she said.
“About a hundred of us were supposed to leave on the 3pm flight but we can’t go on that time.
“There is another group from Melbourne who arrive tonight (Friday) that were suppose to go on Inter-island but they all have refunded their money and trying to find available seats on Polynesian.”
The mother who hails from Aufaga is also worried that their group might miss out on the opening that starts today.
Polynesian Airline Chief Executive Officer Taua Fatu Tielu said Inter-island has been down for a while and most of their passengers have turned to their airline.
He said the backlog from Tuesday is expected to be cleared by Monday.
“The plane has been traveling between the islands until late last night (Thursday) and started early in the morning,” he said.
“It’s an inconvenient for us that they’re (Inter-island) is down because that means a lot of people want to go on one go.”