Friday, March 12, 2021

Transit flyer told airline won’t fly to next stop, sues port

Imagine landing at an airport to catch a connecting flight to a foreign destination only to find out that the concerned airline does not operate flights from there anymore? Hiral Patel, 22, is yet to recover from the shock she received at Delhi airport in October last year when she was told that Turkish Airlines had stopped flights to Istanbul owing to Covid outbreak.

Hiral was supposed to fly to Atlanta in the US via Istanbul to take up her dream job at an architecture firm. But here she was at Delhi airport in the dead of the night, clueless and alone. Forced to return to Ahmedabad, she has now sued in the consumer court and sought Rs 1 crore as ticket refund and compensation for mental distress.

The portal had issued her the Ahmedabad-Delhi- Istanbul-Atlanta travel ticket online on September 9. She flew from Ahmedabad to Delhi on the night of September 30. Her flight to Istanbul was scheduled for 6 am on October 1.

However, she could not find the Turkish Airlines counter at the airport. Besides, no official at the airport was aware of the Delhi-Istanbul- Atlanta flight and neither did the flight detail show up on the flight information display.

Hiral told Mirror, “My family members and friends came to Ahmedabad airport to bid goodbye because I was going to settle down in the US. As I am a frequent flyer, I decided to travel to Atlanta alone and booked tickets on Since my Istanbul- Atlanta flight was at 6 am on October 1, I landed at Delhi airport at 11 am the previous night. But to my surprise, I did not find anyone from Turkish Airlines there.”

“I was horrified. I ran around looking for the Turkish Airlines counter but it was nowhere to be found. I received a jolt when I was told that the airlines had stopped operations in India after the Covid outbreak. I still did not believe it because Air India had charged Rs 18,600 for the excess baggage till Atlanta. So, I had every reason to believe that my flight was scheduled,” she said.

Hiral ultimately called up her family at 2 am for help. Her father Haresh Patel recalled, “I was shocked. I tried my best to guide her thinking it must have been an oversight on her part. She said she searched for the ticketing counter all over the place but there wasn’t any. I then tried to approach and the officials at Delhi airport, but in vain. We realised that we had been cheated.”

Her ordeal did not end here. She struggled to get her luggage back from Air India. “I don’t understand that if Turkish Airlines had stopped operations, why was she charged for the excess baggage till Atlanta? I thought if Air India took in her baggage then the flight must have been scheduled and on time. But that was a myth. She had to wait for six hours to retrieve her luggage from the airport’s warehouse. At first, they handed over somebody else’s luggage to her,” said Patel.

12/03/21 Nikunj Soni/Ahmedabad Mirror

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment