25 London-bound AI fliers stranded in Mumbai

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 21, 2015 21:48 IST

More than two dozen Air India (AI) passengers bound for London were stranded in Mumbai for almost two days, after the incoming flight from Heathrow was delayed on Tuesday.

Since the 25 stranded travellers had onward journeys from London, they were not accommodated in the flight out of Mumbai, said an AI spokesperson. “Even if these passengers were put on the flight, they would have got stuck in London, as they would have missed their connecting flights, because of the delay,” said a spokesperson. Passengers, however, alleged that the airline had claimed the flight was cancelled, before sending them to a hotel.

“I have been stuck in the hotel with my husband and two children since Tuesday. Members of the airline staff have not bothered to update us about our flight. Now, the hotel staff wants us to check out, as the airline had booked us only for a day,” said Bejal Kothari, a Canada resident who had come to Mumbai to attend a family wedding.

She added the unscheduled stop-over had pinched her pocket, as she was scheduled to take a connecting flight to Canada from London’s Heathrow airport. “We have exhausted our leaves and my children have to resume school. But the airline has been extremely irresponsible.”

No representatives of the airline got in touch with them on Wednesday, fliers alleged, adding the departure time of the flight, which was 7.30am on Tuesday, was first revised by an hour, and then deferred to 10.30am, after which the airline announced it was cancelled. “We were taken to the hotel after we protested at around 2pm,” said another traveller.

Even though the airline had promised to put the stranded travellers on Wednesday’s flight to London, they could not do so as the flight was full, said the AI spokesperson. “Most of these passengers do not have visa to enter London. We are trying to accommodate them on flights of other airlines, or our flight on Thursday.”

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