With cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines cancelling, clubbing and re-scheduling its domestic flights on hourly basis, hundreds of its passengers are opting to fly out of Bangalore through its rival airlines.
"Of the 25 Kingfisher flights that were to arrive between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. from various destinations across the country, 10 didn’t land. Of its 20 flights that were to take-off during the day so far, eight have been cancelled," a Bangalore airport official told IANS.
As a result, several of its passengers were seen lining up at the counters of Jet Airways, Air India, Spice Jet and Indigo airlines at the airport and calling their city offices to fly out by the earliest available aircraft of any carrier.
"Though I have been aware of the flight disruptions of Kingfisher due to the crisis in the airline, I hoped to catch its afternoon flight to Mumbai at the scheduled time. But when I reached its counter to check-in, I was told to wait as its in-coming aircraft was delayed and finally cancelled.
"I was asked to take an evening flight but there was no confirmation when it would take-off. I had to cancel the ticket and book by a Jet flight at a higher cost," lamented a business executive who declined to be named.
Several Kingfisher customers also complained at its office in the city and airport against lack of information and updates on arrival or departure of its many flights as the airline was struggling to club or re-schedule its services due to shortage of aircraft, pilots, flight crew and ground staff.
"I have not been able to get through either the airline’s airport or city office numbers. Only recorded messages are heard. Its toll-free number is worse as it is either engaged or put on hold for long with musical tones," a booking agent said on anonymity.
Even as the company’s spokesman claimed that the airline was making efforts to operate as many of its daily services, a few travel agents in the city stopped booking tickets by Kingfisher flights this week as they do not have firm information on resumption of normal operations
"As there is no feedback from the airline on the status of its services over the next five-six days, we are not taking chances to book in advance as there is lot of uncertainty and confusion. Instead, we are advising even its regular fliers to switch over to other airlines, including budget carriers," Gemini Travels’ manager Deepak Kumar said.
Admitting flight disruptions since Feb 18 due to unexpected events, the spokesman said the airline would resume normal operations soon and re-open booking for all services in the next four days.