Prior to the scheduled takeoff time of 5.15 a.m. on Sunday, over 300 Air India passengers travelling from Delhi to Vancouver in Canada experienced a nearly 11-hour delay due to technical issues with their aircraft.
According to airport officials, the airline made arrangements for a second Boeing 777 plane to depart at 4pm.
An official who asked to remain anonymous said, “Boarding for the flight (AI 185) started at roughly 3.05pm and the flight could take off around 4pm, 11 hours after its scheduled departure time”
As the airline kept delaying departure, irate passengers yelled insults at it. Air India opted not to respond.
The flight #AI185, with an STD of 05:15, was delayed to 05:35, then to 06:35, then to 08:00, then to 11:00, and finally to 15:00. Whether it will take off or be cancelled is still up in the air. At the airport, travellers are yelling “Murdabad” chants. We paid around three times the pre-covid ticket for a flight and still weren’t able to take off on schedule. In any case, your ground staff is callous, sluggish, and unprofessional. Additionally, the flight schedule is unclear, according to Jagpreet Singh, whose sister was scheduled to take the flight.
According to airport officials, technical difficulties caused the flight to be delayed. The engineering crew was working on the aircraft, but it was ultimately decided that it would need to be grounded. At 8 am, passengers received refreshments, according to an airport representative. “An alternative aircraft was scheduled, and the flight departed shortly after 4 o’clock.”
The flight’s passengers complained that the airline staff had acted inappropriately and had no idea what was going on. One of the passengers, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “There are toddlers, kids, and old folks on the flight, and no one cares to answer us. We are not receiving updates on the status of our flight, and nobody wants to help”
According to Flightradar24, a Swedish internet-based service that displays real-time aeroplane tracking data on a map, AI 185 runs on alternate days. On Friday, it was again delayed by more than 12 hours.
Passenger complaints on social media sites were also reported for a few other overseas Air India flights.
A London resident named Hemal Shah tweeted that his wife’s journey from Mumbai to London on Friday was abruptly cancelled. The flight was cancelled. There was no notice given to the travellers. To get to busy Heathrow Airport, people travelled great distances. The airport staff was clueless. They were clueless themselves. He tweeted, “AI 128 8/22 LHR to Mum #WingsOfChange.
This comes after the airline was penalised 10 lakh by the aviation authorities on June 14 for failing to make up for denied boarding passengers.
The directorate general of civil aviation issued a statement saying, “It appears that the airline does not have a policy in this regard and is not giving any compensation to unfortunate customers.”
It is a grave worry and is not acceptable. The competent authority has imposed a fine of Rs. 10 Lacs as part of enforcement action in certain situations specified in the show cause notice after reviewing AI submissions.