The Air India’s shift of domestic flights’ operations to Terminal 3 on Thursday started smoothly but as the day progressed, passengers began facing problems.
Not used to walking for such a long distance to claim their baggage, passengers got delayed in reaching the baggage belt. As a result, their baggage was kept in the reclaim area.
“Few passengers couldn’t claim their baggage as the distance from the aerobridge to the baggage belt is too much. The baggage was then sent to the reclaim area.
The passengers will take some time to adjust as they are not used to it,” said an Air India spokesperson.
“In the first phase of the operations, involving aircraft from Delhi, Air India managed 100 per cent on-time performance. However, the second phase of operations, with aircraft coming from other bases, saw some consequential delays due to late arrival of aircraft,” he added.
“A total of 45 outgoing and 38 incoming flights were handled from Terminal 3 till 6 pm on Thursday without any glitches in the operating procedures and systems,” said an Air India spokesperson.
Approximately 6,300 passengers flew out of Delhi to various domestic destinations on the 45 flights.
“A multi-pronged communication plan launched earlier in the week ensured that passengers were informed about the transition to the new terminal by way of advertisements, SMS alerts and direct calls to passengers from the call centre,” the spokesperson added.
“Adequate number of vehicles was kept on standby at the Terminal 1A to provide free transfer services to passengers to the handful of outstation passengers who turned up at the old terminal,” he further said.
But the situation kept getting chaotic as the day progressed.
According to sources, there were problems at check-in counters too for half an hour due to technical problems in the system. This resulted in long queues at the counters for Kochi- , Bhopal- and Patna-bound flights.
Another problem the passengers faced was finding a cab after coming out of the terminal. “My driver has gone to Terminal 1A as he was not aware of shifting. Now I have asked him to come here,” said Indira, who had come from Chennai.
The airport officials are expecting more chaos once Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways also shift to the terminal on Sinday. “Currently, the baggage belts are being used by Air India only so there is less chaos,” said an airport official.
Air India passengers have been facing a harrowing time since October 31, the day Air India decided to shift partially to Terminal 3 from Terminal 1A. The continuous chaos forced Air India to shift fully to T3 on Thursday while Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways will shift later.