Air India Fiasco: Passenger's 48-Hour Nightmare

A traveler's ordeal with Air India's rescheduling, missed flight, and unresolved baggage issues raises questions about the airline's operations and customer service post-privatization.

Air India Fiasco: Passenger's 48-Hour Nightmare
Photo by Zoshua Colah / Unsplash

A series of unfortunate events involving Air India has left one passenger, known online as The Kaipullai, questioning the airline's operations and customer service standards. The incident, which unfolded over 48 hours, has sparked a broader debate about passenger rights and the state of India's national carrier post-privatization.

The ordeal began when Air India sent an "official looking message" to the passenger, rescheduling his 9 AM flight to 11:45 AM. Adjusting his plans accordingly, the traveler went to sleep, only to wake up to another message stating the flight had been moved back to 9:25 AM. This last-minute change resulted in a missed flight, setting off a chain of frustrating events.

"Unless I invent teleportation technology in the next 15 minutes, I am missing the flight," the passenger quipped in his detailed account on social media.

Following the missed flight, Air India's social media team reached out with profuse apologies and promises to "make it right." However, the resolution offered fell far short of the passenger's expectations. The customer care representative provided only two options: a 4 PM flight or a refund.

"The whole point of me taking the morning flight was that I had some work in Bengaluru. And the 4 PM flight would be too late for me," the passenger explained. His requests for accommodation on an earlier flight were met with the same inflexible options.

Feeling "trampled upon," the traveler eventually accepted the refund and booked a flight with a competitor airline, Indigo.

This incident has raised several pertinent questions about airline responsibilities and passenger rights in India. The traveler pondered, "If an Airline screws up and the passenger misses the flight, isn't it their responsibility to put them on another one with similar timings? Can they ask them to take a refund and buzz off? Is it even legal?"

Adding to the frustration, the passenger revealed an ongoing issue with lost baggage from a previous Air India flight. "My colleague is sitting in the US for a week without his baggage. And all Air India tells me is they are looking into it," he shared.

The post has garnered significant attention online, with many users sharing similar experiences and calling for better regulations in the aviation sector. One commenter suggested, "We need EU261 like laws in India for sure. We have been taken for granted far too long," referring to the European Union's strict air passenger rights regulations.

Another user advised tagging the new Aviation Minister, hoping that fresh leadership might address these issues. However, some expressed skepticism, with one comment noting, "No use screaming mate. Airlines is also a monopoly business like the Telecom and Cement. You take or leave it."

This series of events has led the passenger to question whether Air India has actually deteriorated since its privatization. "Is Air India the first example where something has actually deteriorated after being privatized?" he wondered.

As this story continues to circulate online, it serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by air travelers in India and the urgent need for improved customer service and clearer passenger rights in the aviation sector. Whether this incident will prompt changes in Air India's operations or lead to broader regulatory reforms remains to be seen.

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