Monday, June 01, 2020

First week of domestic flights: 391 flights operated but passengers bear brunt of scheduling woes

Upset at the chaos and confusion involving the scheduling of domestic flights, Bhopal residents Rajesh and Saayali Apte, stranded in Mumbai since mid-March, have quietly booked a train to Bhopal instead of waiting
for Air India to schedule another flight to the Madhya Pradesh capital.
As the resumption of domestic flights completes a week on Monday, the limited quota of 25 arrivals and departures at Mumbai airport has led to chaos in scheduling of flights, resulting in repeated cancellation of flights to some destinations.
The Aptes were originally scheduled to travel to their hometown of Bhopal on Air India flight AI631 on May 26, a day after domestic flights resumed. “From May 24, I was trying to complete the web check in, but there were ambiguous error messages. During the call on May 25, Air India informed me that my flight has been cancelled due to the special requirements set by the Mumbai Airport and therefore, ticket was rescheduled for May 29,” Rajesh Apte told Mumbai Mirror.
On May 24, Maharashtra government first said no to domestic flights and then agreed to only 25 arrivals and departures, forcing the airlines and the airport to cut down on flights they had originally planned. As a result, there were massive cancellations of flights from Mumbai and Delhi airports on May 25.
When Apte tried to web check-in for the May 29 flight, the Air India website generated error messages showing that AI631 was not available and that his ticket couldn’t be found. He then tried the online chat with and customer care executive who said that the flight had been cancelled. However, the flight status on Air India’s website was showing that the flight was scheduled to fly and in fact, was scheduled to fly at 4.30 pm instead of 6 pm. When he could not get through to Air India airport office, he sent one of his employees in Bhopal to the airline office in Bhopal, and they confirmed that the flight indeed was rescheduled to depart at 4.30 pm.
 01/06/20 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror
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