Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Experience with Air India - 1

It was not my first time flying with air india, perhaps 2nd or 3rd, but its going to be the last one, at least these are the emotions rights now...

I booked this round trip in october last week, attempt to go home for Deepawali utilizing the long weekend.  It was a Bangalore - Delhi - Bangalore round trip, and I was pretty excited to have clinched this deal.

Flying out to Delhi from Bangalore was already giving indications of trouble with Air India.  When I reached airport, they had already cancelled my flight.  Later I got to know that they had in-fact merged my flight with another flight, which was an international flight, coming from somewhere. The fact was, almost nobody was certain whats the situation. On the check-in counter, I was told that my seat was not confirmed yet, was on standby. Luckily, it was confirmed within the next few seconds itself, and I had a seat (which I realized later, was the last available seat on the flight).

The flight was delayed by about half an hour was another fact. During the waiting period, I met a few passengers, who were waiting since 4-5 hours since another afternoon flight was delayed and the passengers were supposed to leave together on this flight.

Inside the aircraft, we were welcomed by two angry air hostesses, and a third one relatively better.  Mis-management was rampant there too. Ground staff had put in some stuff meant for passengers cabin luggage and the air hostesses were having hard time accomodating passengers' luggage.

Once I got to my seat, I found out a few more things. The hand rest of the seat was taped using cello tape, or else it would just come out into your hands. Later during the flight, one of the overhead lights came out into the hands of of the passengers when she was trying to refocus the beam.  All in all, the aircraft looked like from stone age,  not withstanding the fact that they didnt have aircrafts in stone age :) .

Eventually, we reached delhi airport, but were informed that we would land on the newly built-operationalized terminal (known as T3).  While going to the baggage claim area through a bus, we could actually see labour working here and there. Basically, it was evident that construction work is not over.

The baggage claim belt didnt start until about half an hour after our arrival in the lounge. Some passengers had literally shouted out to get some air india officials around there and take some action for that.

At the end, it turned out, the new terminal is really still new for the people also, and they have issues synchronizing everything. 

It turned out that the whole ordeal took about 2 hours extra than the normal.