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Cayo Largo Airport Security

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Cayo Largo Airport Security

Two months ago a discussion was started on the Cayo Largo Forum. For those that are not familiar with it, it is in French, but is easily translated. It is an active group and a great source of information about Cayo Largo and Cuba in general. The topic related to an apparent theft that occurred at the Cayo Largo airport. This has been one of the most active discussions that I’ve seen on any site, with 110 comments and over 4,000 people reading.

As a frequent visitor and strong supporter of Cayo Largo, I was concerned not only about what might be happening, but also the effect the negative news might have on the hotels. We have many close friends that work at the Pelicano.

During our visit in December I spoke to one of the staff at the hotel. He arranged a meeting with the Director of the Airport (Rafael ??). I told him about the discussion and asked him to describe the systems that were in place at the airport.

He began by providing some numbers. There were 31,000 people through the airport in 2011. Up to Oct, 2012 that number was 26,000. In 2011 that amounted to 7,000 operations. This number represents the number of arrivals and departures of every size of aircraft. The airport employs 51 people, which he describes as his “family”.

In 2008-9 the airport completed a major upgrade at a cost of $232,000. Included in the upgrade was the installation of video monitoring equipment that has been placed in all key areas, including the baggage areas. Theoretically our luggage is fully monitored between the time we drop it off and it is loaded onto the plane.

The system keeps a record of each video so it is possible to investigate any occurrence.

In order to do an investigation, the airport needs information. Flight number, carrier name, time of check in and departure and of course a physical description of the luggage. The actual number of reported incidents was very low. In one case they were asked to investigate a theft but were given the wrong flight number and flight time. In an effort to complete the investigation, several emails were sent to the person, with no response.

I’m not suggesting that theft could not occur in Cayo Largo, or anywhere else for that matter. Even with the airport doing everything they can, it is still up to us to use common sense and simple precautions such as keeping valuables in our carryon, or at home.

Rafael made it very clear that his “family” takes pride in their work and their airport. If you have a problem contact your carrier and help them find and solve the problem.

Fredericton, Canada
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1. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

Sometimes a report results in an avalanche of concerns. I read that site's forum and understand the concerns but believe as you do, that CYO is a very good example of a well run operation. I usually drop by and chat with the staff when out on a scooter, say hi to the dogs and have a good look around.

Never lost anything in the 3 trips either.

ontario
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169 posts
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2. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

Same here as Spunky, one of the 8 trips sticks out in my head when I was asked to open my 22lb carry on and upon doing so it exploded ( because I had to sit on it to close it ) and clearly many things that were not intended for my personal use went everywhere and 2 young uniformed men very kindly smiled and helped me try to repack everything. Our last trip included my daughters boyfriend ( his first time to Cuba ) and we all had our bags except for him...we waited and waited, I could see it in behind the curtain, finally 3 men and 2 dogs come out with the bag 2 other men join them and ask who's bag it is, M pipes up and says mine sir he opens it, we seriously had no clue what was going on.. M had brought his gun belt buckle, which ovi had shown up in the x ray machine as a gun! They looked at us we looked at them they all started laughing then so did we. The only good part ....not much of a line up by the time we got to the hotel. A little off topic, I realize, but indirectly related to airport security :)

Mont Tremblant...
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for Cayo Largo
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3. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

The reports of theft have been genuine - returning clients were very disapointed to realize when they got home that things had been taken from their suitcases, and they would have absolutely no reason to lie about it. And the situation is not new either.

However, since those reports were recently shared on the CL forum, a few regular clients (including fireball) have spoken to employees and managers on Cayo Largo about the situation. I am sure this unwanted bad publicity has since generated increased scrutiny at the airport and I would be surprised if further incidents occurred.

That being said, if we could contact Cayo Largo authorities directly to make a complaint should another theft occur, it would be much more useful than going through the carrier or tour operator. A couple of people have complained to the Cuba Tourist Board in Canada and have received an acknowledgement that their concerns would be forwarded to the proper authorities.

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much, but I understand why people who have been regular visitors to CL for many years would be so disapointed to have stuff taken from their suitcase like that.

Nelson BC Canada
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4. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

My wife and I travelled to CL for the third time (4th to Cuba) this past fall and had a jewellry case taken from my wife's suitcase at the CL airport on our way back to Montreal on October 5th. We were foolish to not have put it in the carry on but had never had a problem before and did not think of it till it was too late. No luck with enquiries and reports to agent or insurance. It was a harsh lesson but will not affect our decision to return, although it does taint our view of the airport "family". We have never experienced any missing items at the Sol or on the beach. The bottom line is to not put valuables in your checked baggage or you may risk its loss.

Mont Tremblant...
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for Cayo Largo
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5. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

bcmtmfolk: I am very sorry about your situation, I can only imagine how upsetting in must have been. While your stolen items were valuable, many others reported theft of simple things like a hat or a thermos. Others also reported having found something that did not belong to them in their suitcase... a very worrisome situation, as you can imagine.

I'm sure the authorities on Cayo Largo are taking this situation very seriously, hopefully this will no longer be an issue from now on.

6. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

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Fredericton, Canada
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7. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

There hasn't been much on line about CYO and thefts on the English language forums.

Like CL2, we've used aircanadavacations flights from YUL without incident.

I'm wondering if the thefts are specific to Quebec tour operator flights and why the other forums aren't picking this up?

8. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

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Removed on: 7:14 pm, January 26, 2013
Mont Tremblant...
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for Cayo Largo
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9. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

Spunky, please do not speak on my behalf.

Fredericton, Canada
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10. Re: Cayo Largo Airport Security

Sorry if there's a communications problem here.

I wouldn't think of speaking on your behalf CL2; I was referencing the flights we've both talked about on this and other forums, LOL.

Have you had problems?