Feb 8, 2011

Golden Frog Transportation is less than golden

Upon the recommendation of Lee Zeltzer, in one of his  blog posts, I contracted Jose Saenz of Golden Frog Transportation, to pick up my sister at the airport.  The arrangements were made several weeks in advance.  They were confirmed by email 24 hours before arrival.   I then double confirmed them by phone the date of her arrival.   I triple confirmed them by phone one hour before she was scheduled to land, when their vehicle should have been at my hotel  to take me to the airport. 

The driver never bothered to notify anyone she would be delayed.  Mr.  Saenz  checked with her following my frantic call and advised she would be there in five minutes.  She arrived twenty five minutes later, while my sister's plane arrived 10 minutes early.  It had already landed by the time we got to the airport.  Once I located my sister and we were ready to head out, the driver announced she had locked the keys inside the car.  (Actually, she said the keys had fallen inside the locked car....In Spanish, it's never the fault of the speaker.... Objects fall from people, the person doesn't drop them.   She was translating directly, because her English was poor.)  We were told we needed to wait for someone to bring another set.   While waiting, I was of the impression Mr. Saenz or one of his delegates were bringing the keys.  But then I learned it was the driver's mother who would be bringing the extra keys.  I subsequently surmised we were traveling in the driver's personal auto rather than  a Golden Frog company vehicle.   This concerned me. 

After additional unfortunate communications with the driver,  who, as already stated, was not bilingual, I employed my fluent Spanish to arrange conveyance with one of the official airport taxis for five dollars less than what Golden Frog was charging me. 

I had especially contracted Golden Frog for my sister's pick up because I was travelling into PC from Boquete by bus and wanted to make sure someone would be able to pick her up if, for some unknown reason, I didn't arrive in time.  As it turned out, had I not been there, my sister would have been on her own.  The driver brought no materials to make a sign, my sister speaks no Spanish, and the driver spoke little English.   

The experience with Golden Frog was infuriating at best.  At worst, the operation may have been employing questionable business practices.  Who knows what type of personal insurance the driver carries?  I cannot comfortably recommend Golden Frog Transportation as a reliable alternative for picking up loved ones or pets from Panama City when unable to do so yourself.