Flight delayed for 3 hours, fliers battle for basics

Flight delayed for 3 hours, fliers battle for basics

Flight delayed for 3 hours, fliers battle for basics

How bad an experience can a three-hour flight delay be? On Sunday night, 160 Bengaluru-bound SpiceJet passengers from Ahmedabad experienced the full extent of this delay, as they desperately battled for timely information, food and compensation that was denied.

The flight (SG 928) was scheduled for a 9.35 pm departure from Ahmedabad. Passengers were alerted by SMS to report two hours in advance. They had to be at the airport by 7.30 pm. The ordeal was about to begin. Recalled Nishith Naik, a passenger: "The person at the counter didn't even bother to tell me that the flight is delayed. They should have known that the incoming flight hadn't even taken off from Bengaluru at 7 pm as scheduled."

The flight eventually departed from Ahmedabad at 00.22 am on Monday, after a tense, dreary wait by the passengers. They expected the airline to offer them food and refreshments. "We asked for hotel accommodation and food vouchers. They said no to that. Instead, we were offered low quality food. When we pushed to talk to higher management, they said they are not available," said Naik.

Frustrated, the passengers demanded monetary compensation or a ticket refund. This, Naik said, was refused straight away. Responding to an email that articulated this demand, a SpiceJet official responded: "We apologise for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard. Please note that your flight was delayed due to operational reasons on that particular day."

'No compensation'

SpiceJet, the official said, "makes all reasonable efforts to ensure timely operations of its scheduled flights. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances a delay or cancellation of its scheduled operations may result. We would not be in the position to provide any compensation to you in this regard."

When everyone boarded the flight post midnight, the expectation was that they would all be served food at no cost. "No such offer came. Instead, they were selling food inside. The passengers were all upset, tired and angry. We then decided to start a WhatsApp group and take this further," said Yusuf Motiwala, a passenger.

For Abhishek, Lakshmi and other passengers, the delay had their entire Monday plans overturned. "The staff was so adamant that they clearly told that they are not in a position to help. We were all helpless. At the end of it all, I reached home in Bengaluru at 4.10 in morning instead of midnight as planned." Lakshmi's son had to miss his school, as cabs at that hour were in short supply.

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