A repatriation flight left New York on September 23, 2020.
With the local alternating repatriation plan for citizens in the USA, the other flight was ten days later on October 3 from Miami.
This means citizens that are in New York and the United States east coast will have to wait 20 days for the next flight (Seven days quarantine, three days sanitizing/preparing quarantine facilities for repatriated nationals from New York and the process is repeated for the Miami flight).
This means 20 more days of limited resources, decline in mental health, and immeasurable depression, anxiety and frustration.
If citizens from New York cannot endure this extra time, they will have to take a flight to Miami (and vice verse) in sync with the next repatriation flight to Trinidad.
Not only is this an additional cost but a risk in boarding the flights on time. No loitering or waiting in airports are allowed and US domestic flights’ times are currently delayed quite often.
Thus, stranded citizens are now exposed to two airports in the two states where COVID-19 cases are the highest in the US.
Also, baggage restrictions for domestic flights across states means stranded citizens that are already cash strapped will have to find that money to pay for extra luggage (providing the airlines facilitate or offer such service at this time) .
I suggest if repatriation is done with 100 persons at a time (taking into consideration quarantine facilities in T&T), operate a flight from Miami with 50 passengers and another from New York with 50 passengers simultaneously, back to back flights (perhaps Saturday and Sunday), or take 50 persons from New York, stop off at Miami and take the other 50 before heading to Trinidad.
We may think this is not financially feasible but this will benefit nationals abroad that have already endured many discomforts and mental ordeals.
While I am aware that Caribbean Airlines is going through a financially turbulent period, which is the case for the airline industry globally, I am sure our national carrier and only approved repatriation entity could still step up to their cooperate responsibility and help hundreds of stranded nationals during this time.