The airline realized the error when people started turning up at Delhi and Bhopal airports on Sunday. The erstwhile national carrier is now held by the Tata Group then set for a plane at Delhi, which left from the Capital around noon as AI 481 with six passengers.
A ticketing error led Air India to book passengers for a flight that did not exist, and then hurriedly arrange for an aircraft to correct the mistake and avoid further inconvenience to flyers, the airline official told, after affected people highlighted an unusual mix-up at Bhopal airport on March 27.
The passengers had booked tickets for Air India flight AI 481, which flies from Delhi to Bhopal and then onwards to Pune after the company’s reservation system and the website showed it as one of the options. However, the flight was not scheduled for that day and was meant to fly the route a day later.
The airline confirmed the incident but did not attribute a cause.
“AI481 on the Delhi-Bhopal-Pune sector of 27th March 2022, had left Bhopal at 1430 hrs. The scheduled time of departure of this flight was 1045 hrs. There was a delay of 3 hrs 45 minutes. From Delhi to Bhopal six passengers traveled and from Bhopal to Pune 49 passengers traveled in the flight,” a company spokesperson told.
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An official who was aware of the matter told me the mix-up occurred because the airline recently updated its schedule. “As per the airline’s new schedule, no such flight was to work on a Sunday. As a result of this (people turning up), the airline decided to operate the flight. The aircraft had to be arranged and flown to Bhopal. This was a result of miscommunication between the scheduling and reservations departments.”
The flight AI481 operates in the Delhi-Bhopal-Pune (and return) sector. The official quoted above told the AI481 was operating four times a week till March 26 and was rescheduled from Monday. But, the schedule was not changed on the website due to which the flight remained open for booking.
Passengers at Bhopal airport reached out to the Air India
“It was only when the passengers at Bhopal airport came out to the Air India officials did the airline officials learn about their fault. After the passengers raised the matter and complained of the mismanagement, the airline was forced to call for an A320 aircraft to fly from Delhi to Bhopal. The flight then flew with six passengers on board,” the official quoted above said.
According to flightradar24, an internet-based flight tracking website, AI 481 (which takes off on other days at 10.45 am) from Bhopal finally took off at around 2.38 pm. It normally takes off from Delhi at 8.30 am.
“The Pune-bound passengers in Bhopal were traveling for a wedding and insisted that they reach Pune by the evening,” the official said.
“As the flight booking stayed available to customers, passengers were booked on the return leg too. The Pune- Bhopal flight operated with 18 passengers and then the Bhopal to Delhi flight worked with 44 passengers,” the official said.
A Delhi airport official told that the flight from Bhopal on the return sector was delayed due to last-minute arrangements.
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Source: Hindustan times