Friday, July 07, 2023

160 passengers of Air Asia flight to Lucknow stuck at Pune airport for 14 hours

Pune: As many as 160 passengers booked on Air Asia's flight from Pune to Lucknow scheduled on Wednesday evening spent the entire night at the airport during a delay of almost 14 hours.

The aircraft was to take off from Pune at 5.20pm on Wednesday, but was airborne only around 7am on Thursday. Harish Mishra, a flyer, said the airline arranged temporary accommodation for only a few flyers, leaving others to fend for themselves. There were senior citizens, wheelchair-bound people as well as expecting mothers among the flyers.

Mishra told TOI, "The flight was to take off at 5.20pm on Wednesday. We got text messages alternatively saying the revised time was 6.10pm, then 7pm and finally 8pm. For the rescheduled 8pm flight, all flyers reached the airport at 6pm and completed the check-in. But the boarding didn't start even by 9pm. This left the flyers frustrated and they questioned the ground staffers. We were shocked when the staffers told us that even with the aircraft ready, they couldn't fly at night because operations were not permitted at Lucknow airport between 9.30pm and 6am."

The Lucknow airport is closed to all night flights from February 26 to July 11 from 9.30pm till 6am for infrastructure works. With signs of a pandemonium breaking out, the airline staffers said the flight would take off at 4.30am.

According to the passenger charter of the ministry of civil aviation, if a flight is delayed between two and five hours, the airlines must provide meals and refreshments. If the delay is six hours or more, the airline must communicate the rescheduled time 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. Passengers can ask for an option of either an alternative flight or a full refund. In addition, even if the flight is delayed by six hours or more and the airline communicated about it 24 hours prior, they need to provide hotel accommodation if the flight is scheduled to fly from 8pm-3am.

07/07/2023 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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