What was supposed to be an exciting trip for one St James resident turned into a nightmare after she was allegedly robbed at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) yesterday. And she is pointing an accusatory finger at airline security officials.
Janelle Jordan, a bank worker who was on her way to Miami on American Airline flight AA2572, said she realized her money was missing when she boarded the flight after being frisked and searched at the departure gate.
She told Barbados TODAY the incident took place between 7:40 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. after she left a duty-free stop with her travel companion and was getting ready to board the flight.
“He went ahead of me but I noticed before we got there they were doing random searches. He went ahead and then they stopped me and said they have to perform a random search,” recalled Jordan of the officials at the gate.
“The person who stopped me . . . asked me to step out the line for the search. I placed my handbag and my carry-on on the table. And another lady asked me to take off my jacket while she frisked me. And I recall the lady who took my bag and asked me to come over initially she backed me as she went through my items,” she said in giving a detailed description of the search by two officers, who were observed by a third.
Jordan said prior to the search she only opened her bag at the duty-free store where she made a purchase and was certain it was there when she left because she “checked to make sure that everything is where I left it”. She added that there was no other point during which the bag was out of her sight.
“After I had gone through the initial scan I would look at my stuff to make sure everything was in order,” she said.
Jordan said it was only after she boarded the aircraft that she checked and realized her purse was upside down.
“And I was like, ‘I didn’t leave this like this’, and when I pulled it out it was opened and all the cash I had in there was gone.”
Upon her arrival in Miami Jordan she conducted a thorough search of her purse, handbag and luggage to no avail. She said the money was to purchase items for her home during her 16-day trip.
“It has put a huge damper on that. So I can’t get the stuff I need to make myself comfortable in my own house. And the funds which I had was basically my bonus for the year . . . So basically I am here with the intention to shop for myself but now I am just here not doing much,” she said.
So far she has raised the issue with American Airlines and the GAIA office, both of which have acknowledged her complaint. She has also written to the police here; G4S, the company which provides security at the airport; immigration personnel at the airport and the head of the immigration department in Bridgetown.
“I am waiting to see what their responses will be,” Jordan said.
The distraught traveller told Barbados TODAY she decided to contact this newspaper because other people have since shared similar experiences with her and she felt the public ought to be aware of such incidents.
“I want to make sure that they [Barbadians] are aware of what happens and if anything to catch those involved. If I wasn’t with a companion I am not sure how I would be able to get to my destination in terms of paying taxi fare and doing other necessities. So I think it is something that should really be pressed because you are putting people at a disadvantage . . . I want the public to know what is happening at the airport,” she said.
When contacted, GAIA’s Corporate Communication Specialist Keith Goddard told Barbados TODAY airport officials were made aware of the incident and it was being investigated by both the airport and the airline. (MM)