Close to 350 passengers on board a Qatar Airways flight from Mumbai to Doha lost sleep on two consecutive nights to reach their destination 36 hours behind schedule on Monday.
The flight, originally scheduled to take off from the city on November 13, was cancelled after the airline crew made passengers wait inside the aircraft for seven hours.
"The pilot announced that the flight was delayed owing to a technical snag but they made us wait inside the plane for seven hours before deciding to cancel the flight," said Thane resident Vinit Gupta, a passenger on the flight. By the time the aircraft was ready for operation the crew's permissible duty hours had expired.
During the marathon wait inside the plane, passengers alleged that the air-conditioner had stopped working. When some passengers complained, the crew allegedly asked them to leave the flight. As a result, about 40 passengers cancelled their trip. "An elderly women who was diabetic had to argue with the crew to get some food," alleged Gupta.
The ordeal did not end there. The airline rescheduled the flight at 12:10 am on Monday.
However, at 8 pm on Sunday its call centre revised the departure time to 6:10 am on Monday. Finally the flight took off from the city at 7:15 am about 30 hours behind schedule.
Gupta flew to Doha but missed a connecting flight to Buenos Aires owing to the delay. "I missed crucial business appointments because of the delay. Not to forget losing sleep for three consecutive nights," added the 38-year-old executive with a multinational company in Thane.
He added that the airline crew in Mumbai had promised him a seat on an alternative flight to Argentina but the staff at Doha refused him a ticket before November 15. "I returned home because the business seminar would be over by the time I reached there," he added.
Qatar Airways, in response to a query sent through email, said the flight was delayed owing to technical difficulties.
The airline added that passengers were accommodated in hotels and it operated two flights to Doha on November 14 to accommodate passengers from the previous day.