Wednesday, July 03, 2019

At Mumbai airport: Miscommunication, frustrated travellers and absent ground staff

Misleading information on display screens, absent ground staff and frustrated travellers — the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) was a scene of utter chaos on Tuesday morning after more than 100 flights were affected following unprecedented overnight rains that left the city crippled.According to Mumbai International Airport Limited, 52 flights were cancelled on Tuesday, 54 flights were diverted to nearby destinations while several more were delayed, leaving the passengers stranded for hours.
The cancellation and delays started after a SpiceJet flight skidded off the main runway on Monday night. Airport authorities said in a tweet that the secondary runway was being used on Tuesday and it may take up to 48 hours to make the main runway completely operational again.
To make matters worse, there was a near breakdown of the information system inside the terminal. Passengers huddled around television screens to get weather updates as well as status of the runway.

Abid Sait, a 62-year-old Bengaluru resident, said he was forced to spend the entire night at the airport with his family after his Air Asia flight to the southern city got delayed.

“We are a family of 12 and were returning home after attending a wedding in Mumbai. We reached the airport at 10.30 pm on Monday for our flight, which was at 12.50 am. They (airline staff) first said the flight was delayed by 40 minutes. After that, there was no one at the airline counter to reply to our queries,” Sait said.

“At 6.30 am, we requested them to reschedule our flight. However, they said the evening flight was also iffy and instead suggested we rebook our flights for Wednesday, which we did. It took them more than an hour to return our checked in luggage. We were stranded for almost 12 hours. If they would have informed us, at least we could’ve moved to a nearby hotel. We are here with two children, one of them is three years old. The lack of information is so frustrating.”
03/071/9 Mihir Vasavda/Indian Express

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