By Giulianna Tonti: We’ve touched down! Safely and soundly, I now found myself in my mother land, Belize. After walking directly from what felt to be an exaggeratively frigid international aircraft, into the familiar blaze of Belizean heat, and through the immigration, baggage retrieval, and customs checks, I was then standing in a small vestibule with two exit options facing me.
The good ‘ole proverbial fork-in-the-road had me momentarily disoriented, as I had never had to veer straight through the “Connecting Flights” swing doors at the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. As a creature of habit I had instinctively veered right to exit the airport where my ride to San Ignacio, Cayo would normally be waiting for me. However, this time around, I was surely in for a treat, as my travel itinerary called for a connecting flight with the renowned domestic airline Maya Island Air destined to the both untouched and untouchable Placencia.
I arrived at the Maya Island Air check-in counter and introduce myself. Before any of the staff even knew I was there to write an article for BelizeHub.com, I am greeted with the warmest of smiles and professional pleasantries. This is in fact a true sign of genuine, quality customer service. If you have the pleasure of checking in with Oprah, there is no doubt that you will feel like you are indeed in good hands.
Pamela, the Observer and Concierge on duty, who gently hovered right behind Oprah and her fellow check-in associates, not only had the most charming, almost Princess Leia-like hair do, but had the shining personality to go along with it! We struck a little conversation during which she expressed to me that meeting people is her favorite part about working for Maya Island Air. “I am happy as long as I am here!”, she exclaimed.
While obtaining my boarding pass, gate information and directions, Roman the most pleasant baggage handler I had ever met, also resulted in being the most attentive as well. I had apparently neglected to zip the outside pocket of my original carry-on which I was now wanting to check with my other piece of luggage. Roman, with genuine concern, not only caught the unzipped bag, but also suggested that I keep this small duffel bag as a carry-on to minimize risk. It is without a doubt that his attention to detail deserved my utmost gratitude. Thank you, Roman.
Finally the time had come to board the plane. I took the opportunity to quickly speak with Kareem who is preparing for boarding. At this point, I am not surprised to see that he too was genuinely enjoying his job at Maya Island Air. When I asked him what he liked the most about working with the airline, he said, “it is a very diverse work field in the sense that I get to meet so many different people with different backgrounds. I learn more about the way people think and what they like; how they prefer things to be. Over a period of time you get really good at your job and with dealing with passengers”. This, to me, shows that Kareem is one that takes great interest in not only growing as a person but also in his professional position with the company. This is the kind of person that any customer service expert would seek out and go to great lengths to have on staff. No doubt that Maya Island Air holds extremely elevated hiring standards.
I boarded last, and was thus able to observe Kareem a bit more. He walked around and greeted each of the customers. He approached one woman and took her bag. She then responded with “You’re the best!”. The second attendant working along side Kareem was actually given a hug by the passenger! It felt like they had become one big family after merely a short period of friendly exchange.
If you are seeking the most reliable and pleasant travel experience to Placencia from the international airport, then Maya Island Air sets the bar. With that said, you may also be quite pleased to know that by supporting this airline, you are also supporting one that boasts treating their staff well and fairly! Maurice at the Placencia Maya Island Air air strip, explained to me that the company offers their staff “great benefits”. He proudly shared with me that he has “been around since 2001”. Now that’s a company that can take my money any day!
I cannot fail to mention Hector “Ali” Urbina, our pilot that afternoon. He demonstrated not only true diligence to sticking to a strict timeline at each municipal stop made while in route to my final destination, something of extreme importance to anyone itching to get to their Placencia destination to take a dip in the pristine Caribbean Sea, but he also can manage to crack a joke or two! Nothing better than a pilot with a sense of humor that can get you to where you need to go and without a second of delay!
After this marvelous experience, I am left without a doubt that Maya Island Air is a true representation of what a quality customer service and flight experience should be. Maya Island Air is a true representation of Belize!
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