Flight mix-up leads to ordeal for aged couple
A wheelchair-borne aged couple was stranded at Mumbai airport’s international terminal on Sunday after their Chennai-bound flight was cancelled soon after it was displayed ‘on schedule’ on the airport’s display screen.mumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2010 01:53 IST
A wheelchair-borne aged couple was stranded at Mumbai airport’s international terminal on Sunday after their Chennai-bound flight was cancelled soon after it was displayed ‘on schedule’ on the airport’s display screen.
V Kuppuswamy, 81, and his wife Sharadha’s, 76, ordeal allegedly began three days before the journey. The couple was booked on a code-share flight between Air India and Indian Airlines at 8am on October 24. Codeshare is a practice where multiple airlines sell space on the same flight.
Three days before the journey, their son K Shanker, an oil company employee in Mumbai, called the Air India call centre in Chennai to confirm the tickets. The call centre official said the tickets were booked for October 20 and were cancelled as the passengers had missed the flight. “They kept giving contradictory replies,” said Shanker.
Shanker then called the airline’s Mumbai call centre, which confirmed the tickets.
On October 22, Shanker went to the domestic terminal in Mumbai to once confirm the tickets again. The Indian Airlines staff at the reservation counter claimed his record did not reflect the passenger number for reservation (PNR) submitted by Shanker. After a two-hour wait, an Air India staff confirmed the PNR code and asked him to block the tickets from the international terminal.
On October 24, his parents were waiting for wheelchairs at the international terminal when the airline staff at Gate A sent them to Gate B. The staff at Gate B then told them to board the flight from the domestic terminal. But after another round of verifications, the staff provided them wheelchairs and the couple was allowed to enter the international terminal. Shanker later learnt that his parents’ flight was cancelled and the couple was put in the next flight to Chennai.
“My parents had to get a cab, manage three big suitcases and reach the domestic terminal on their own,” added Shanker. He he filed a complaint with Air India on Monday. An Air India spokesperson said the passenger was informed about the flight cancellation on October 23. The airline didn’t comment on the other allegations levelled by the passenger.