Monday, June 08, 2020

International fliers still seek clarity on flights, accuse airlines of harassment

Mumbai: Ever since domestic operations resumed on May 25, people have been asking about the start of internationals operations. Clarity on the start of international operations from the government is, however, awaited.

On June 8, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri tweeted that the global situation is far from normal.

“Due to increase demand for resumption of scheduled international flights by people who want to travel abroad due to compelling reasons, I reviewed the state of international flight operations around the world. Globally the situation is far from normal. Most countries have less than 10% international operations because they are allowing entry only to their own citizens and have placed restrictions on foreign nationals. Many are allowing inbound flights from few countries but have also placed restrictions of quarantine/isolation,” the Union minister tweeted.

While restrictions are in place, passengers are still hopeful. Some have expressed disappointment and alleged harassment at the hands of airlines.

Palvannan Muthu Pillai is one such non-resident Indian who has not been able to fly out for nearly three months.

Pillai, who has a permanent residency of Canada, came to India to cover the IPL. He is now desperate to get back to his wife and 6-year-old son in Vancouver. Speaking to India Today TV, Pillai said he was able to book a flight on Lufthansa from Mumbai to Canada via Frankfurt for June 7. He said he spent Rs 98,000 plus on the ticket and did a web check in on the morning of June 6 -- happy that finally he would be with his family.
“When I reached the Mumbai airport, I was not allowed to even enter the airport as Lufthansa staff said permanent residents were not allowed to fly according to DGCA rules, and it’s on a case to case basis which they will decide. While I understand the rule, why did Lufthansa didn’t mention the same at the time of booking or web check-in. They were unprofessional and rude enough and asked me to leave. I tried to show them the Hardeep Singh Puri’s tweet where he said that anyone with clear documents and allowed at the port of final destination are free to fly with any airlines flying in this situation,” Pillai said.

“There was a group from Surat, a senior citizen from Hyderabad who took a flight that morning, a couple from Bengaluru travelling with a 10-month-old who is a citizen of USA while the parents were Green card holders. All these people weren’t allowed, it seemed the staff at Lufthansa themselves were not aware of rules and regulations.”
08/06/20 Pankaj Upadhyay/India Today
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