Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Flyers to Kolkata stranded on Mumbai airport bus for 45 minutes, see flight take off

Kolkata: Five persons travelling to Kolkata from Mumbai were left stranded in an airline bus in the Mumbai airport apron area for over 45 minutes on Monday morning when the driver refused to budge. They eventually saw the 5am flight take off.

One of the stranded passengers, Baby Koerie, who works as a domestic help in Mumbai and had borrowed Rs 7,500 from her employer to buy the air ticket so that she could attend her mother’s funeral, could not reach on time due to the bungling. Despite repeated pleas by her and requests from other passengers, who were stranded, to put her on a flight operated by another airline, the GoFirst ground staff remained unmoved. The passengers finally reached Kolkata via Bengaluru around 2.30pm instead of 7.30am.

Veterans in the industry termed the incident as bizarre but admitted it exposed a loophole in the boarding system. While a headcount used to happen at the step ladder point earlier, that has been done away with. Now, passenger tickets are scanned at the bus gate. Thereafter, passengers are deemed to have boarded the flight.

“The pilots or cabin crew weren’t even aware that the five passengers weren’t on the flight. There was clearly a communication gap between the ground staffer, who manages passengers boarding the bus, and the driver,” said a veteran airline official.

A Go First spokesperson said the concerned employee has been taken off duty/suspended pending investigation of the incident. “Go First has a zero-tolerance policy and it is mandatory for all employees to comply with the company’s rules, regulations, and policies,” the statement read.

29/12/21 Times of India

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