Saturday, May 28, 2022

Tech glitch: BSF staffer rushing for funeral denied boarding at Bengaluru airport

Bengaluru: It was an emergency. Border Security Force (BSF) constable Ripunjay Kumar Jha had to rush to Bihar to attend his father-in-law's funeral. But little did Jha know that his attempt to travel by a SpiceJet flight would turn out to be a harrowing experience. An alleged technical glitch because of which his boarding pass could not be generated left Jha stranded for four hours at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).

On Thursday, Jha got the news of his father-in-law passing away following a massive heart attack at their native village of Gajipur in Vaishali district, Bihar. Jha was visiting Bengaluru for work and was stationed at the BSF headquarters in Yelahanka. He rushed to KIA to catch the earliest available flight to Patna and tried to book a ticket at the SpiceJet counter. But he was told that the defence staff concession is applicable only when tickets are booked online.

Jha immediately called his younger brother Deepak Kumar, who was in Nagpur, and asked him to book a ticket (to Patna) for him online as he didn't have enough cash.

Around 3.30pm, Kumar spotted seats on SpiceJet flight SG 9493 (Bengaluru to Patna) scheduled to depart from KIA at 4.55pm and booked a ticket for his brother online by paying Rs 7,739 using his credit card. "We got the defence personnel concession online and booked the ticket. I clicked the auto check-in option and waited for the boarding pass, but nothing came through," said Kumar. Jha, meanwhile, was waiting outside the Bengaluru airport gates to receive the boarding pass to enter the terminal.

While Kumar made vain attempts to call SpiceJet customer care, Jha reportedly explained the situation to CISF security personnel at the departure gate, following which he was escorted to the SpiceJet counter inside the airport.

"To my brother's utter frustration, the SpiceJet staff didn't allow him to check-in physically, saying only online check-in was permitted. He tried explaining to them that he had the PNR number and that the ticket had been booked, but the online boarding pass wasn't being generated on the SpiceJet portal, but got no help. No one even considered the fact that he was a defence personnel and he was shooed away," said Kumar.

With attempts to reason with SpiceJet staffers failing and time running out, the BSF constable with his brother's help booked an IndiGo flight to Kolkata on Thursday night and reached Patna on Friday morning. From there he travelled by road to Gajipur to attend the funeral in the afternoon.

28/05/22 Times of India

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