The ordeal for Air India (AI) passengers seems far from over. If the AI pilots’ strike was not enough, an unresponsive management at the Indira Gandhi International Airport is adding to the passengers’ woes.
On Saturday afternoon, the officials at the AI counter at Gate No. 8 decided that they had had enough and left the counter unattended even as stranded passengers waited for an answer to their problem.
“We were asking the officials about our flight schedule when they suddenly announced that their duty was over and left the counter,” said Arun Aggarwal, who was hoping to board a Mumbai flight last night at 11.
Passengers were sitting inside the unattended counter, holding placards that read, “Air India holding passengers hostage”.
Harassed passengers, meanwhile, continued to spend nights on the floor of the lobby, while some complained of lost baggage and misplaced boarding passes.
“We have been at the airport since Friday night. We were supposed to catch a connecting flight to Mumbai and from there to Hyderabad. We were promised seats on a Jet Airways flight but nothing has happened so far,” said Yogesh Gupta, who reached Delhi from Hong Kong last night.
For Ashiq Hussain, waiting to board a flight to Srinagar, the delay the delay is more worrisome.
“My mother’s operation is due on Monday. If I don’t get a flight by Sunday night, the operation will have to be rescheduled,” he said.
Passengers also complained that officials at the AI counters had misplaced the boarding pass of a couple.
“An official took the couple’s boarding pass, assuring them that they can board the next flight to Cochin. After a while, he came back and told them that he has misplaced the passes. This place has become like a fish market,” said Aggarwal.
AI officials, meanwhile, issued a statement, saying most of their international flights were on schedule. The national carrier also claimed to have operated 14 extra flights to clear the backlog.
The domestic operations, however, continued to be badly affected with just 13 out of the usual 53 flights taking-off.