Friday, June 05, 2020

AI website gets 6 crore hits in 2 hours as bookings for Vande Bharat flights to North America, Europe open

New Delhi: The Air India website received a record 6 crore hits in the first two hours when it opened bookings for outbound Vande Bharat flights to North America and Europe. Being the only confirm connection flights available for eligible people to fly out of India, the demand is huge and passengers who wanted make bookings had a tough time grabbing a seat.

The maximum demand is being seen for flights to the US, with direct flights to San Francisco and Chicago being the most sought after there.

“Bookings for select destinations in USA, Canada, UK and Europe etc under Phase-3 of Mission Vande Bharat opened at 5 pm Friday. Around 60 million hits received till 7 pm on our website and 1,700 seats sold through website alone in 2 hours. Bookings continue and tickets are being issued,” AI tweeted. Officials say the demand is strong across economy, business and first.

The massive demand meant it was not easy to get a seat on these outbound flights. “I have made my payment using my credit card but haven’t got the ticket. Hope the payment mean that a confirm ticket has been issued,” said a person in Kolkata who has to go back to US to rejoin work.

“My entire family had logged into five laptops and as many AI apps on our phones to book a Delhi-US ticket. For about two hours we managed to reach the generate one time password (OTP) phase for making booking using credit card and we gave the OTP thrice. But we didn’t get the message that the amount has been paid using our card and we don’t know our status. We need to buy one ticket and hope suddenly don’t get three tickets as we gave the OTP thrice,” said another person in Delhi. These people did not wish to give their names.

A senior AI official said people should not panic. The website slowed down and many could not access it. “We will put more flights if required,” said a senior official.

At 6.08 pm on Friday, AI tweeted: “Demand for seats from India on flights planned under Mission Vande Bharat-3 is overwhelming. Sectors/ flights are being opened in systematic manner for booking, on the website.”
05/06/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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