Tuesday, July 25, 2017

AI seats available for 144 flyers, but airline books 194

Kolkata:  An unexplained glitch in Air India's reservation system that triggered angry protests among passengers in Kolkata this weekend has the airline's commercial team on tenterhooks.
On Saturday, 194 passengers reported for Air India flight AI 731 from Kolkata to Guwahati when the Airbus A 319 aircraft had only 144 seats. Some airlines do resort to overbooking but never at this scale. While the 50 stranded passengers fumed and fretted, AI officials were left flummoxed at how it had happened.
"It was an unprecedented situation. We do have 2-3% overbookings but on Saturday, it was 31% on the Kolkata-Guwahati flight. The passengers were justifiably furious and we didn't have any explanation to offer. An error seems to have occurred in the reservation system. Instead of displaying that the flight was full once 144 tickets had been sold, it continued to accept reservations. Thus, 194 passengers turned up for the flight," an AI official said.
AI would have had to use an Airbus A 330 aircraft or a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to carry so many passengers on a single trip. But none of the aircraft could be re-deployed to Kolkata at such short notice.
25/07/17 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India