No flight to turn to

Anyone travelling by air last week would have encountered nothing less than a fiasco. Almost 80 Kingfisher Airlines flights were cancelled and delayed, other flights were overbooked and airfares skyrocketed. Frequent fliers were seen spending long hours at airports rescheduling their plans, arranging stays and killing time. Metrolife spoke to airline authorities on what should be done in case of a delay or cancellation and how a customer should be adequately compensated.

Prakash Mirpuri, vice-president of Corporate Communications, Kingfisher Airlines Limited says, “About 15 per cent of our flights, which have been operating consistently for the past three months, have been cancelled. We are doing our best to inform guests in advance about cancellations and rebooking them on other carriers.’’

He adds, “We are also offering our guests a full refund.”  However, the customers’ woes remained unaddressed and a wave of discontentment has spread.

“The first attempt is to reaccommodate passengers on other flights. Airlines have an association with other companies on a code-share basis, where passengers can be accommodated on other carriers in the event of an emergency. Kingfisher is linked with Jet Airways. Attempts are also made to accommodate passengers on connecting flights to their ultimate destinations,” says Arun Seth, ex associate of Kingfisher Airlines.

While sharing his opinion on what could be done to avoid inconvenience and a feeling of resentment among passengers, he says, “In case of non-availability of economy seats, business class seats should be given to passengers as compensation. Road transportation to the nearest big airport is provided to privileged customers, but it should be given to regular customers too”.

Anjana Seth whose flight was recently cancelled says, “A full fare refund should be given to passengers in case of a flight cancellation.”

Tinu Cherian, an IT executive and frequent flier with Kingfisher, says he has let his ‘KF Rewards’ go waste and opts for other airlines to ensure timely arrival. “I was a loyal customer until the delays began. Now I use other reliable airlines. As for compensation, nothing monetary can compensate for my reaching a place in time.

Flight cancellations are both emotionally and financially tough,” he says.

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