No-go on Indigo!

No-go on Indigo!

“I have to attend the funeral of my niece.. please tell me that the flight will take off” pleaded one lady. Another lady was on the verge of collapse.

"I have to attend the funeral of my niece.. please tell me that the flight will take off" pleaded one lady. Another lady was on the verge of collapse. You could make it from her body and facial expression.

A middle-aged man was sitting on the floor, with painful expression on his face. The stones in his bladder were hurting. There was a doctor who was explaining how important it was for her to reach Hyderabad.

Many were travelling on important works ahead. I was myself in a bad state. My head was throbbing and I was feeling weak all over. Being a senior citizen, the endless wait was not helping.

We were all booked on Indigo 6E 149 from Bangalore to Hyderabad, on June 6, scheduled to depart at 20.40 hrs from Gate No.8. I had checked in by 19.00 hours when the message came that the flight would take off at 21.20 instead of 20.40, flight delayed due to operational reasons.

On the display board at the gate, as the minutes ticked by, the EDT moved up by 10/20 minutes each time. There was no Indigo staff at the gate. They came in at about 20.15 hours.

By then the ETD was later than 22.00 hours. The staff kept all the passengers who enquired, engaged by giving reasons which changed as the ETD changed. First it was bad weather condition. But flights were arriving and departing.

The staff displayed their mobiles showing aircraft supposedly circling overhead. The duty Manager arrived and gave a new reason - no pilot to fly the aircraft.

He went through all the motions and put up a show of arranging a pilot, as simple as fixing up a driver from the company's pool of drivers. Nothing happened till 22.30 hours.

Nothing was happening. The flight was delayed by more than 3 hours by then and airline did not even care to provide a bottle of water for the waiting passengers. Many passengers demanded change of flights.

Many demanded food and water. Nothing was done. Sometime later the snacks arrived – a bottle of water, a packet of chips, a packet of cashews and biscuits. Here we were stranded for more than 3 hours and this is all that they had to offer.

The staff, it looked, as if they were in a real time training session of how to handle irate passengers of a hugely delayed flight. All the reasons given for the delay seemed straight out of the training manual.

The DGCA 'Know your rights' page says, 'If you have checked-in on time, and the airline expects a delay beyond its original announced scheduled time of departure or a revised time of departure, you are entitled to facilities in accordance with CAR, Section 3, Series M, Part IV.' Further it says, if the flight is delayed for less than 24 hours, the passengers are entitled for meals and refreshments at the airport.

Yesterday's conduct of Indigo was not as per DGCA stipulation. The passengers were stranded for over 5 hours if reporting time is taken into account and more if the normal check in time is taken into account.

The staff were not telling the truth keeping the passengers in dark. The least they could have done is to offer a cup of hot tea/coffee once the flight took off.

It is requested that this incident may be highlighted through these columns so that appropriate authorities act upon this deficiency in service on the part of Indigo.

This is a step in the direction to ensure a more pro-active response of Indigo to such instances of delay in flights.

P Satyanarayana Murthy, Secunderabad

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