Haiti Airport Baggage Handlers, There're Just Too Many!

One of the most annoying problem at the Haiti International Airport is the excessive number of baggage handlers who literally fight for your bag and, ALL of them, demanding to get paid. Guess what? The foreigners are beginning to notice, they are blogging about it on the Internet, and they seem to think it is a post-earthquake problem.

I don't know about but I really hate it. I always hated it, and something needs to be done about it!

Every time I arrive at the Haiti airport, these people want to rip your baggage from you, not because they want to help, but because they want your money.

The funniest thing is... They don't thank you for tipping... They curse you for giving too little!

Mande Bondye ou ta ba yo lajan Haitien menm... Yo ap tou dechouke-w... Voyew tounnen back kote-w soti-a!

It is intimidating even for me... and I am a big man!

Imagine how terrifying it must be for a woman who, God forbid, is a foreigner, and is traveling alone!

If it bothers me and I was born and raised in Haiti, how to you think looks for the thousands and thousands of foreigners arriving at the Haiti airport every day?

The International airport is Haiti's front gate. It says a lot about our image, if we still have one.

In the new world that we live in, where everybody has a camera, every stupid video lands on Youtube, and everything becomes headline news in a spit second, IMAGE IS EVERYTHING!

I don't know whose responsibility it is to ensure that Haiti is no longer seen as a nation of beggars but it looks really ugly when beggars disguised as State employees line up at the front gate of the Republic of Haiti.


There seems to be more baggage handlers at the Haiti airport then there are passengers.

I understand there a no jobs in Haiti but is this really the very first thing we want the world to see as soon as they land in Haiti?

I used to feel that writing such an article would be degrading to my own country but it is true, it is enjoying, and it is making all of us look bad.

NO... Not just our government...

ALL OF US HAITIANS... Black, white, mulato, it doesn't matter!

Really... Is this what you want to read about your own country every time you read the newspaper?


Dozens of men crashed like sea waves, arms flailing, faces contorted. Only two actually had guided us through the airport mob scene, their hands possessively pressed to our supply carts, shooing away others who tried to glom on. Then I reached for a tip ...

Now every man in Haiti seemed to demand payment. They shoved and elbowed each other, arms in our faces -- "ME! HEY! I HELPED! ME!" -- until we lost track of the original guys in a sea of palms and eyes and hats and sweaty shirts. I threw out some money. My colleagues scrambled into the van. Someone yelled, "Shut the doors!" The engine roared, and we jerked into motion, fists banging on the windows... (See original article)

Sounds like a freaking movie script... but unfortunately... anyone who's landed at the Haiti airport will agree that the author is not exaggerating.

I don't know about you but I think it is time we address ALL of the issues, starting with the things that bothers us most, as Haitians, about Haiti.

We all know that Haiti is a poor country but is that the first thing we have to show to the world every time they walk into our front door?

Have you had a similar experience? Doesn't it bother you?

Post your comments below.

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All Comments (13)

Rocky says...

I travel to Haiti on business every so often.

The bag handler issue at PAP is exactly why I would never come to Haiti unless absolutely necessary.

If you try to get into or out of the terminal without paying them, they will block your way. The airport security officers or policemen on site do nothing to stop them. Last time I had to make flight out of PAP I had to spread 30 USD over three people and still they kept demanding more. I finally pushed my way past them.

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Jessica says...

I Totally agree with you!!! you make perfect sense.

like I said you cant blame people who lost almost everything to want to make that extra dollar to provide for their family.

I have great experience with tourist and would go for sure and show people how to approach guest.


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Jessica says...

Okay me when I went to Haiti Nov 2nd to see my Man I arrived to the airport I am a 24 year old white woman from Canada lol! picture that hahha I dont know nothing about how Haiti really is. I was put down for wanting to go to Haiti saying I was going to get raped and kidnapped and when I get to the airport they are going to try to steal my luggage so when I got to Haiti My Man came to get me where the luggage comes out (he paid someone to get in the airport) Thank God he did that cause when we came out at least 100 men were trying to grab my suitcase He basically had to shove people back. Its really sad that people have to live that way cause after all Haiti is a beautiful country and its a shame whats happening to it the government is not doing nothing to help them out. I do not blame those men trying to make that dollar at that airport as annoying and as frustrating it got, you got to put yourself in their shoes they all have family to feed.The airport should be able to regulate it but yet again they have trouble regulating the elections how do you expect them to do anything else. Its really sad that the people of Haiti have to go through all of this but we got to try and see things from their point of view. Hopefully Haiti will heal and may God guide a protect these poor people from all the Demons trying to bring them down. I love Haiti and plan building myself a house there.

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D. Rizzuti says...

Port Au Prince Airport is an opportunity for the community.

The situation at the airport has been described as disorganized, with too many porters.

Unfortunately the conditions in P-Au-P affords little opportunity for able bodied residents who need to support themselves and their loved ones. Government offices were devastated in the earthquake of January 12th, so there is a distinct lack of oversight and services available at this time. P-Au-P is over crowded, jammed with construction and demolition vehicles, slow to navigate, and potentially a security risk to foreign travelers after dark. That being said, the people there are wonderful, hard working, intelligent and full of good humor -in the face of tremendous adversity.

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Thomas says...

I use to be the one of the first ones to comment onarticle regarding my country, but did not in this one, woodring i am agrre with you and i know the problems, like another said, i use to experience this problem more in cap haitien, but now it is worse in Port au prince after the quake, it never been that bad until now. But i am totaly agree with bloobloo what ever that mean. We can't criticize these people, they are desperate and hopeless, immagine we were not that fortunete and we were one o them. let us not make critic on this but think of abetter way to deal with it and i think the only way is to create job for this people, they need electricity so they can create their own work.
I WAS THERE LAST WEEK FOR A FULL WEEK JUST GET BACK SATURDAY, WE AND THIS COUNTRY HAVE ENOUGH TALK, NOW WE NEED ACTIONS, THEY NEED JOB, ELECTRICITY, WATER, FOOD, "Les grands zouzounes" stop the food aids so they can sell their own, but guess what people have no money to buy, what is

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Josy says...

GHANA, LAGOS, AND SENEGAL AIRPORTS are exactly like Haiti.

I visited Africa in the 90s, and encountered the same problem.

I would put an iron gate with barbed wired around the entire airport, and will come up with a system.

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Carlos says...

I agree with yourl felows I think it was only in Cap Haitian airport in Cap I i think it worst.They even want to fight you 4 ur own stuff I think the tourist board need to do something about that, that if they care, or

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Damebochie says...

I actually experienced something like this when I was living the country for the first time 3 years ago. The guys asked me to help carry my sole luggage from the front door to the baggage receptionist.

For those of you who have been in Haiti's airport, you know how short is the distance.

When I refused he started assaulting me telling me how cheap I was. The guy litteraly wanted to kill me because I didn'tlet him carry my bag. I am Haitian and this experience bothered me a lot; when you think about foreigners it is definitely worst for them, especially with the Haitian atittude: tout blan chaje lajan.

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Arnold Principal says...

Sorry Woodring, I hate it too.

This problem has been there long before the
earthquake, and its solution is quiet long due. It's inside of the airport, outside as well. Something should be

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T Lagwe says...

The slew of beggars and hungry people that greet you at the Toussaint Louverture national airport is very embarassing.

Let's discuss the condition of the airport itself, the pathetic condition of the baggage claim area, the building itself is all cement with poor ventilation, mind you in a tropical country.

The air conditioning often doesn't work.

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