Air India B787 DreamlinerBack to Forum
Anonymous7 Apr 2015
AI 995 / DEL – DXB / 14/02/15
I purchased a full fare business class ticket from the Air India website, mainly because the time of departure was best for me.
A few hours before the flight I received an email advising that the flight had been rescheduled from 20:30 to 21:45. I'm not sure how this was termed a rescheduling so close to the flight time.
At check in AI would not accommodate me on and earlier Jet Airways flight, which I preferred because of the re scheduling, even though the fare was the same.
In lieu of an argument, I proceeded to check in for the flight.
There was no one at the Business Class check and check in was done very efficiently.
I proceeded to AI's lounge, which is the airlines lounge at its main hub. The hub is divided into Business Class, to the left of the entrance and into First Class and AI/Star Alliance Gold to the right. I used the First Lounge, which in fact, is connected to the Business Lounge as the toilets, food and drinks are only available in the Business Lounge area. No non Indian publications were available and the wifi was not working. I tried using one of the two computer desktops in the lounge but they were not working. The bar is in the Business Lounge but was not attended; the drinks cabinet was only stocked with bottled water and Thumbs Up cola and with no other selection of any kind, The food, what little of it there was, was, without exaggeration, completely inedible including the packaged sweets.
The information screens showed every single AI international flight either delayed for more than 4 hours or cancelled, except the DXB flight which was marked as on time and the gate number given. At around 21:00 a pre recorded airport wide announcement advised that the flight was cancelled. I checked, along with other passengers, what the lounge desk could do. Literally, notwithstanding what turned out to be a screaming match by other passengers in both Hindi and English, the staff would not even respond. Not one word of any kind. Finally at around 21:30 the lounge staff advised that notwithstanding their uniforms, they were not AI staff and that they had not been able to reach even ONE AI staff in the airport, and that passengers should go to the gate to see what could be done. There was a huge congregation of passengers of what mush have been a full load for the scheduled 787, with many shouting in Hindi. Security was called and tried to calm passengers. I finally managed to speak to the LONE gate agent who advised that there was no AI ground staff at the airport and that the flight and cabin crew had simply not shown up for the flight and as such there had to be a cancellation. She also advised that we could only pass through border control and go into the terminal if AI released passengers to customs but given that there was no AI staff available, no one could go anywhere. By around 23:30, passengers were threatening the lone gate agent with violence and security moved the nearly 200 people to passport control where at around 01:30 Indian immigration finally took the decision to let the passengers leave the secure area. I went through the immigration and customs and back to the terminal.
Air India has one ticket desk in the entire airport, which had only one person attending. The ticket agent told me no airline had any seats and that I had to wait until the next AI flight. I called Emirates and Etihad and they both advised me that they had seats available in all classes. I relayed the information to the AI ticket agent, which advised me that I was misinformed. I called Emirates and bought a ticket on their 04:15 flight and proceeded to fly with them. AI did not refund the cost of my cancelled ticket and I have had to ask the credit card company to dispute charges.
My one comment is that at all costs AI should be avoided and that from what I observed, one should be very, very wary of how the airline is managed in terms of general management, crew training and probably even maintenance.7 Apr 2015