Recently, a friend was made to wait for 7 hours at Bombay airport for a mis-managed flight. The flight IX 251 scheduled for departure at 11:40 pm. on 25th March 2017, actually left at 7:09 am. on 26th March 2017.
The fact that it was a subsidiary of the National carrier got me surprised for a host of reasons.
The first notification for a delay in departure came at around 3 p.m. (7 hours before the scheduled flight) The departure time kept getting postponed with the revised time every hour.
Experience is an attribute because of which brands and service providers charge a premium. While the subsidiary is a low cost carrier, it still comes with the experience of more than 75 years.
There was unusual rain and hail in Dubai airport. This could be the reason for the delay of the incoming flight and therefore delay in the outgoing flight. Apart from this flight, there are 3 more non-stop, single carrier flights that fly to Dubai between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. All 3 departed with the maximum delay of 36 minutes. How does this match up to making travellers wait for more than 7 hours?
At 5a.m. after a wait of more than 5 hours and heated arguments by some of the passengers, they were informed that due to a technical snag, they are being transferred to another flight.
The friend shared that after walking across many gates airport for the alternate flight, there was no information passed on to Air India ground staff standing at the designated gate.
The passengers broke out in agitation to the extent that the ground staff fled from the scene unable to handle the irate passengers .
More than the delay, the scheduled take off was being pushed every 30 mins keeping passengers in suspense as to when would they fly to the extent that when they actually started check in, the passengers refused to queue in as they felt it was another excuse to buy time
Alternate arrangements could have been made from the start, knowing the incoming flight is delayed due to weather conditions. A proactive approach would have resulted in unmeasurable brand equity for the carrier.
Lack of empathy
This was an international flight on the last day of the weekends in UAE. Many of the passengers were executives who had to resume work the next morning. Keeping them awake for the whole night with uncertain updates was absolutely inhumane. It displayed a lack of sensitivity on part of the team members of the airline.
Disruption of schedule and financial loss to passengers
Very often executives travel to the destination for a day, wrap up their work and return on the same day. A flight scheduled to depart at 11:40pm. and reach at 1:25am. is booked with the mindset that the person will get a good night’s sleep before heading to office.
A passenger working with Emirates was told by his Manager that if he doesn’t make it to work in the morning, he would receive a warning. 3 of those and he loses his job!
Tourists visiting Dubai for a couple of days lost precious time, disrupting their plans. Passengers transiting Dubai en route their final destination would be stuck in between.
With a delay of more than 7 hours, the carrier has completely denied the person of sleep, resulting in ineffectiveness at work, impact on health and inconvenience at many levels.
The word express means quick. I would envision fast turn around time. However, traveller reviews only showcase otherwise.
Emirates is the national carrier of UAE and an airline that is funded by the Government. I hear rave reviews of their service from traveller friends. There is this josh that the crew has to not only maintain the brand image, but also create loyalists from their passengers.
The National carrier in India, feels neglected in comparison. If only, it uses its experience to it’s advantage, it can hitch its wagon to the star of success.
*Cover picture: Rob Bye