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Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 08, 2013
A crack team of senior Air India officials swooped in at the Terminal 3 of the Delhi airport on Thursday night to carry out a surprise check. The inspection was intended to check if standard operating procedures were being followed and passengers getting the facilities they had paid for.

This is what they found: only 16 of the 25 check-in counters were operational at T3, not even a single floorwalker was present to guide passengers to the aircraft or lounge, check-in taking up to eight minutes when ideally it should take less than three minutes, wheelchairs to be provided to passengers at the airport gate were only available at the check-in counters, at least a dozen officials were found missing from duty, business-class passengers were taking 20 minutes to trace the airline's premier class lounge.

All this at an airport the airline considers its hub.

The inspection was kept a closely guarded secret and only the chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan and joint managing director Syed Nasir Ali were aware. Minutes before the inspection team reached T3, the airport in charge was called and told to provide all assistance.

"The whole idea was to see for ourselves how efficient our staff is," said an official.

The flag carrier has now decided to have surprise inspections at all airports they operate.