Air India to offer meet and greet service at airports
The Air India airline has designed the package for passengers who may like to travel with enhanced comfort level and are willing to pay for the assistance offered.Updated: Sep 05, 2019 11:49 IST
Facing severe financial crisis, Air India will soon offer a package to passengers in which they can hire assistants to help them complete check-in formalities, speed them through security check and immigration, wait for their flight at airline lounges, and be taken to the boarding gate in a golf cart, even if they are travelling economy class.
Named AI Sahyog Service, the airline has designed the package for passengers who may like to travel with enhanced comfort level and are willing to pay for the assistance offered.
Earlier this year, civil aviation ministry had approved the ‘meet and greet’ plan, under which airports across the country were allowed to hire a company for the facilitation of passengers for a price that entitles them to additional services.
“Initially, the service will be offered at Delhi and Mumbai airports. Air India will continue to offer free assistance to passengers requiring special care/attention due to any physical injury or disability as mandated in DGCA rile,’ said an Air India official.
Some private companies also offer the service at Delhi airport after the new rule came into existence.
“Most of the business comes through our tie ups with hospitals and travel agents as passengers are still not aware of the new facility. We also give lounge access and golf cart and will soon launch the service at other airports as well,” said Bhavya Kukreja, head marketing of Plaza Premium Group that runs lounges at airports across the world and also operates Allways, a meet and greet service at Delhi airport.
Departing passengers are received in the parking area and provided assistance at every point till they board the plane. Similarly, those arriving are received at the aerobridge.
“Earlier, there was no procedure to issue an airport entry pass to person to facilitate passengers. Commercial entities, mostly hotels, are given commercial passes, but even then they are allowed to receive passengers only from the Customs area. Now, we have started giving all-area passes to employees of the ‘meet and greet’ company,” said a second civil aviation ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official added that only one company per airport will be given a licence for the service, and the airport operator will have to set its own rates.
“Such services are available at airports round the world. In India, they exist in an unorganised manner. Now, it will be organised - the company can have a tie-up with a lounge, it will also be able to provide access to the first-class lane for frisking, where there is hardly any queue,” said an official from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
The porter service will continue so will the wheelchair service provided by airlines for old or physically challenged.
First Published: Sep 05, 2019 11:49 IST