Jet Konnect passengers undergo 'hungry' delay

 
Those booked on the 7 am flight were asked to board the plane at 6.30 am and were virtually held “hostage” inside the aircraft till the ultimate take-off around 9.15 am, said Divya Soorenji, an affected passenger.

“Being a low-cost carrier, food was not served, despite the delayed departure and further delays in landing and baggage delivery. Only water was served free, while the food sold onboard was too expensive for an economy flier,” complained another passenger.

Exchanging notes, a corporate flier of Jet Konnect said her colleague who was on the Air India flight was at least informed about the approximate delay and allowed to stay in the airport lounge. “The least the airlines could do was to serve timely refreshments,” said another passenger who faced a similar problem.

Were airline officials lax?

According to information available, the problem could have been compounded due to the absence of station managers of various airlines. Monday saw as many as 28 domestic flights, including two international (British Airways and Oman Air) being delayed due to the thick fog that affected visibility.

“Station and duty managers of a few airlines, who were away on vacation for Christmas and New Year, had not yet rejoined duty. As a result, coordination could have gone haywire. While providing information to passengers is of utmost importance in times of undue flight delays, emergency SMS and signages also constantly display flight information. On-time performance (OTP) monthly meetings are also held between airline and BIA officials,” said a official of a private airline on condition of anonymity. Other airline officials were unavailable for comment.

AI blames the weather

However, national carrier Air India responded to the delay and said: “As a result of fog situation at Delhi and Bangalore airports for the past two days, the schedule of the flights of many airlines, including Air India have been disrupted over the entire network. Flight IC 106 was delayed at Bangalore due to late arrival of incoming flight IC 105 from Mumbai.

“The delay at Mumbai was due to shortage of cabin crew to operate the flight because of the disruptions in the last two days due to fog conditions in Delhi. Duty managers from both Air India and its joint venture partner Air India SATS were available at the counters giving continuous information to the passengers about the flight delay,” said V Chandrasekar, Senior Manager (Corporate Communications) Air India, Bangalore.

Air India also added that breakfast and refreshments were served to passengers through the airport snack bar, while lunch was served on board the flight.

“Flight IC 106 was cleared within 30 minutes of landing of the incoming flight (as against the normal ground time of 50 minutes). IC 105 landed at Bangalore at 11.45 am and IC 106  took off from BIAL at 12.15 pm. All the operating departments coordinated to ensure minimum inconvenience to the passengers,” added Chandrashekhar.

During fog conditions, Air India has a contingency plan in place with pilots trained on Category III landing system operating out of Delhi airport. “But because of RVR landing aid (being) non-functional at Delhi, the airport temporarily has only a Category II landing facility instead of Category III facility. This has upset our contingency plan,” the Air India statement further added.

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