Air India Complaint - AI137 from Delhi the flight from Heck
DELHI INDIA -- I and a friend were to end our trip to India with AI137 from Delhi to Frankfurt on 9/24/05. Of course there were also hundreds more passengers, Indians, Germans, Italians, Swiss and Belgian. The flight was supposed to take off at 7:30am. After sitting in the jet a while the pilot let on that there was a problem with the brakes and he would not fly it. He announced that the plane we could see to our right would be used instead and we would continue to that one without needing to go through security again. This never happened and it was announced that another jet was being flown in for us. This never happened. No Air India employees could provide real information on when we would really be able to take off.
After sitting around 5-6 hours on the jet we were herded off to various gates a while for the brakes to be worked on. At this point a friend requested a blanket for me because I had a high fever and chills in the cold airport and was simply told NO!
At 1pm we were again herded into a filthy bus (at least the one I was in) and to the Centaur Hotel. My room had a wet mould stain growing in one corner. At 11PM more busloads of people arrived and we were carted back to the airport - according to AI because we had a flight at 1AM.
We boarded a plane many hours after 1AM and this also didn't take off. The pilot still refused to fly it. (Apparently no other jets are available in Air India’s entire "FLEET")
After being shuttled around more gates we were told to collect our baggage and we would be carted back to the Centaur again. The moving of baggage made it easy for at least one of our passenger's luggage to be picked off by thieves.
One of the Indian nationals got a hold of a reporter from NDTV who met us out front of the airport and we did a TV interview in hopes of making Air India ashamed enough of their behavior to provide another plane.
After the interviews ran Air India became much friendlier and sent out 3 reps to Centaur to get us on Lufthansa flights. (43 hours later?)
Even this was pathetic. First these reps appeared at a desk in the lobby of the Centaur with no notification of the passengers. Those lucky enough to catch the rumour of their appearance knew of their presence. We were promised a flight out that night.
Later acting on another rumour of AI employees in a room at the Centaur I went to this room and discovered to my dismay that we were NOT in fact yet booked on a flight out and needed to go through the entire process again...competing with a growing angry mob of fellow passengers.
I hope that India Tourism realizes that now there are HUNDREDS of tourists whose stories of abuse and mistreatment are going to spread and prevent others from going or returning to India. Unless Air India can redevelop at least the most BASIC of "Customer Service" structures and learn to respond to problems and attend to them (in less than two days).
If this had happened due to a natural disaster or a military incident I could have some understanding. This happened due to sloppiness, stupidity, lack or organization, training and customer service skills.
It is impossible to sleep while something like this is going on so the effect on physical and mental health is enormous. Both of us lost a day of work each and were exhausted for the first day of work we were able to go to. Total delay was almost 48 hours and I am sure that no one would have done anything if we hadn't gotten on television.
I wasn't disputing the pilot's decision to not fly the plane...
I was questioning why an "International" airline would take 2 days to even BEGIN getting us out of the airport.
Also, why an "International" airline would continue to present the same broken plane to the same poor, tired passengers.
Also, why an "International" airline would move us around without sleep for two days like a bunch of political prisoners.
None of the other passengers I have spoken to could sleep during the two visits to the substandard Centaur....both times we arrived in the afternoon and were carted back to the airport at 11pm (1st time) and 9pm (2nd time). Lack of information and fear of missing any information that might magically appear kept us from sleeping.