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Stranded plane returns to India, passengers furious

The plane arrived in Delhi with over 300 passengers, who appeared angry at the airline's handling of the situation.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2006 17:26 IST

An Air India flight grounded at London's Heathrow airport for the past two days arrived here this afternoon with over 300 passengers, who appeared angry at the airline's handling of the situation.

A large number of relatives were present to receive the passengers of the New York-London-New Delhi-Mumbai flight that touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at around 1200 hours.

The passengers, who said they had undergone an unexpected ordeal in the past two days in London, vent their ire at Air India officials who "did not do anything" to help them.

A majority of them said they had spent a night inside the airport and then about two days in a "sub-standard" hotel. The passengers did not hide their displeasure at Air India "not taking proper care" of them.

The Boeing 747-400 with 434 passengers returned to Heathrow within 20 minutes of taking off on Thursday night following the bird-hit. Ninety-six passengers were on Saturday flown by a relief aircraft to New Delhi via Ahmedabad while the others returned today after the Boeing's damaged engine was replaced.

"I left New York on October 11. It took five days to reach Delhi. What can be more disgusting than this?" said Harbans Kaur, who pointed out she had obtained leave for only 15 days to attend a family function here.

"The treatment we got in London is really a lifetime experience. Nobody took proper care of the passengers. We had to spend the night of October 12 in the lawns of the airport as no accommodation was provided to us," the 50-year-old Kaur said.

First Published: Oct 15, 2006 17:26 IST