There are certain ‘Things Jamaican’ that people from ‘The Rock’ hold in high regard, and Air Jamaica is one of these. Frequent flyers have fond memories of the Lovebird, and when asked about the airline, which had its debut flight in April 1966 and took to the skies for the last time in May 2010, there are some true-to-form responses. Here are seven things Jamaicans miss about Air Jamaica.
- They served what Jamaican nationals call ‘real food’. No light snacks, but honest-to-goodness meals on longer flights to tide you over for the duration of the trip. Think ackee & saltfish and fried dumplings on morning flights and baked chicken, rice and peas and fried plantain on evening flights.
- The professional service that had the feel of home. The stewardesses were friendly and gave great service with charm and poise. Most seemed to belong on the runway, rather than in the aisle of an aircraft. In some cases they did, as the fashion shows that took place on board showcased their range of talent. These ladies represented the intriguing melting pot of races that exist on the island.
- Despite the seating section, every passenger was treated to champagne. The ‘champagne flights’ were equivalent to the warmth and hospitality synonymous with the island.
- With an exceptional safety record, Air Jamaica pilots were truly appreciated for the sense of security that accompanied each trip on a Lovebird flight. Being unique, Jamaicans thought nothing of applauding on each safe landing.
- The vibrant colours and logo made the airline easy to identify and was a symbol of national pride for many – a perfect visual expression of the tagline, ‘the little piece of Jamaica that flies’. Even today, it’s hard to pick out a carrier with the attractive blend of colours and flair of the Lovebird.
- Customers were allowed two checked pieces of luggage, which our people appreciate as we are renowned for travelling with excess baggage or ‘bag and pan’, especially in the case of first-time travellers.
- The Sky Writings Inflight Magazine—a travel and lifestyle publication—provided a comprehensive look at Jamaican culture, including the inside scoop on places to visit on the island, plus interesting facts on other destinations on the airline’s routes.