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Air India / poor customer service, missed flights

1 England, Greater London, United Kingdom Review updated:

Customer Service Complaint Department – Air India

To Whom it may concern,

We were a group of 4 passengers travelling to India on Thursday 18th December 2008 from London to Mumbai via Delhi on flight number AI112. As we checked in at Heathrow, we asked the Air India check-in staff if we will be issued boarding cards from Delhi to Mumbai and were told that we will be issued boarding cards from Delhi which was a bit surprising and confusing as our final destination was Mumbai.
We departed London 45 minutes later than scheduled time of 21.30pm which we thought this would not be a problem as we already have a connecting flight already booked from Delhi to Mumbai on Friday 19th December 2008, flight number IC887 scheduled to depart at 13.00pm, because we departed late, we arrived late at Delhi. On arrival at Delhi International Terminal, we were totally and absolutely lost at the airport as we had no information or guidance on what to do. There was not a single Air India staff to guide us. We had to ask several airport staff what to do. We were informed that we will have to go through Immigration and Customs. At this point we stood in the queue at immigration where we were further delayed while going through immigration. After immigration, again we had to ask several staff about our baggage as our baggage’s had been tagged for London to Delhi and Delhi to Mumbai. We waited at the baggage collection belt at Delhi. After waiting for almost 30 to 40 minutes we did not see our baggage come onto the belt, which was very worrying. Then by chance I spotted our baggage which were actually lying on the floor next to the belt wondering why our baggage’s had been taken off the belt and who had taken them off the belt. If our baggage were tagged for Mumbai, why were they taken off at Delhi without notifying us? After collecting our baggage we proceeded through customs and rushed towards the bus that was transferring passengers to the domestic terminal, at this point we were told that this was the last bus and that we could make it to our connecting flight to Mumbai. The journey to the domestic terminal took another 15 to 20 minutes. Having reached at the domestic terminal, we were told that our flight had left, which left us totally stranded and worried and were told by the Air India counter staff that we had to wait for the next flight to Mumbai. So we went to the Air India airport office to enquire when the next available flight was to Mumbai and were told that it was at 5.00pm. We told the booking staff that we had to catch our onward flight to Rajkot at 7.00pm, but the Air India staff took no notice of our concerns. This left us with no choice but to book on the 5.00pm flight to Mumbai. We got ourselves booked for the 5.00pm flight IC810 by couple of ladies at the booking office where they issued us with print-outs of our flight. As we had few hours until our flight, we sat at the airport until check-in time. We proceeded for check-in at about 3.30pm where we found out that 2 tickets were confirmed and 2 tickets on waiting list as all 4 of us were travelling together. After several requests, we were told to wait and that nothing could be done. We were actually asked to go from one counter to another for almost an hour and a half without any luck. The Air India check-in staff at Delhi were absolutely ignorant with what we had gone through, even during check-in the check-in staff were prepared to deal with other passengers who would just jump in front of us and just forget about us. With all this ignorance we were informed that we could not get on the 5.00pm flight as only 2 confirmed passengers could travel. Having missed that flight, we again asked what will happen now and were told that we will be guaranteed a flight at 6.00pm, we had no choice but to accept as we were totally left stranded by the sheer ignorance of the Air India staff. We finally boarded the 6.00pm flight to Mumbai. We arrived in Mumbai at about 8.30pm. As we had our onward tickets already booked to Rajkot from London on Jet Airways which was at 7.00pm which we had missed due to our late arrivals. We had to re-book our Rajkot tickets with Jet Airways for which we had to pay the full flight cost and were booked for the 7.00am flight the next morning. This left us with no choice but to book ourselves in a local hotel in Mumbai. We finally reached Rajkot the next morning almost 13 hours late. We were with two 16 year old young teenagers who were going for cricket coaching sessions in Rajkot and they were really frustrated at the way we were all treated by the Air India staff.
Air India is supposed to be the national airline of India and we have never had such an experience with any other airline having travelled to India several times, which leaves us in no doubt but to say that we will never again travel by Air India ever and will never again recommend any of our friends and family to travel by Air India. This was totally unacceptable from such a large airline with all the delays and missing all our connecting flights with all the extra costs of new tickets to Rajkot and hotel costs and the inconvenience this has caused to us all. If this particular issue is not taken seriously and if we do not get a satisfactory response and full compensation to this matter from Air India, we will be left with no choice but to take this matter further. As previously mentioned, we will never again fly by Air India, even if we were offered free travel by Air India. It was total incompetence on the part of the staff and Air India as a whole.
This was just the first part of Air India’s incompetence. On the way back we rang Air India to re-confirm our booking on flight AI143 to Delhi and were informed that our flight from Mumbai to Delhi was at 7.45am and not 9.30am as per our booking printout made via our travel agent in London. We arrived at Mumbai airport terminal 2 three hours early prior to departure and the situation at Mumbai airport Air India check-in was totally chaotic, there were no clear instructions or notices as to which queue to check-in. This took us a good couple of hours to check-in. Having checked in we expected our flight to be on time, but again without any announcements the flight was delayed by an hour and a half. At the departure gate while we were waiting, we happened to meet a passenger from London who was travelling with us and found that the timings for our onward flight AI111 to London from Delhi did not match with the timing on his and our tickets. His ticket showed 14.20pm departure time and our ticket showed 15.50pm departure, again we fail to understand how this can be at all possible when all tickets are issued by Air India. Had we not been aware of this, we could have easily missed our flight to London. I am sure that Air India will not take this issue lightly and we expect an explanation with this nightmare journey we had.

Hoping for your prompt and satisfying response.

Passengers Travelling: Mr. Shivlal Patel - Locator Number: HGV8K
Mr. Ashish Patel - Locator Number: HGV9S
Mr. Naran Gami - Locator Number: HCRZ 7
Mr. Mayur Gami - Locator Number: HCRZ 7

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Shivlal H. Patel

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  • Ji
      26th of May, 2018
    0 Votes

    This is Dr. JItendra Keshri. My ticket no. was 0985316814939 and PNR no. Z89PQ. I was supposed to travel from Tel Aviv to New Delhi on 26th April. My boarding pass was issued and I went through hectic two hours of immigration and security check at Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv). When I reached at the Gate Terminal E6, my name was announced along with 12 other passengers that we cannot board on the flight, with telling any authentic reason by attendants there. Despite of requesting several times, that I had to attend family function next day in Haryana (India), they did not allow me to board the flight. After repeatedly asking the reason, the Air India Manager (Mr. Michael) informed us that there is technical fault in the flight, any door or window is not closing properly. So, all passengers could not be accommodated. This flight was also delayed for 6 hours from its scheduled time. I wonder how Air India can risk the life of passengers with the technically faulty flights.
    Once I asked how they selected the passengers who are being not allowed to travel. I got an answer, those who are travelling alone and having student visa. So, for Air India students are easy targets.
    Mr. Michael was not giving us proper answer what he is going to do with us. His full intention was that we stay for three more days in Tel Aviv and he could board us in next Air India flight which was on 29th of April. Six passengers agreed for this, but for six passengers including me, travelling on 26th april itself was so important. But he was not in mood to arrange other flight. He was intentionally delaying the process and made us wait whole night without any proper answer. After a lot of requests, he arranged our tickets in Aeroflot next morning only through Moscow, which dropped us in Delhi only in the midnight of 27th April. But again we had to go through the immigration and security check, which in Tel Aviv airport used to be hectic. I could not attend my so important family function on 27th April. What compensation am I going to get for this overall 18 hours delayed flight and mentally harassing us whole night?

    This is not the end of story; I was supposed to travel back from Delhi To Tel Aviv on 15th May. Dr. Prashant Kambali was also with me (He was also not allowed to board the Air India flight on 26th April.) When reached the counter to collect the boarding pass, the lady told us that our ticket from Tel Aviv to Delhi was still opened, so she cannot issue the boarding pass. She sent us to ticketing counter of Air India on Gate number 1. There no one helped us, and denied that we cannot travel now since there is no information in internet that there was fault in Air India flight. Also, they cannot close our ticket which was supposed to be done by Air India on 27th April itself. We narrated all our issues what happened to us on 26th April in Tel Aviv airport and how Michael arranged Aeroflot to send us here. But they simply said we are not telling the truth. Then we asked them give us in writing that we cannot take the returning flight. They denied to do so, and sent us to the counter manager of Air India. She sent us again to boarding pass counter. There Mr. Avinash helped us to close the ticket from Tel Aviv To Delhi, and issued us boarding pass for Air India flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv. This whole process took more than one hour running here and there. We were mentally harassed and physically exhausted.

    What was our fault in all these situations? We paid full amount and expect the good service from Air India, which was really unconvincing by the behavior of Air India staff. These flights, between Tel Aviv and Delhi, is a kind of historic and fell under Maharaja service and there was a lot media coverage when it got started in March 2018. Does Air India call this kind of service as Maharaja? If so, that’s pathetic.

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