India & Around, Living, Sports & Adventure, Travel
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Scary airline experiences

I’ll start with a story that actually ended well but I missed a few heartbeats in the beginning.

On my return from Bhutan, I had a return flight from Bagdogra to Calcutta at 2.40 pm in the afternoon. When I reached the airport around 12.10 pm (early fortunately, I was to realize later), the Air Deccan folks told me that they had switched to winter timings. The flight had already left in the morning. Of course, they had tried to contact me but I was not available. As I was travelling in Bhutan out of cell phone connectivity range, they tried calling but couldn’t get through.

Back to the problem at hand. There I was, at the airport, a really worried expression on my face wondering what to do. I also had a connecting flight from Calcutta that I couldn’t afford to miss. “What do I do?” I ask the guy at the counter my voice beginning to reflect my worried state. He asked me to wait for a moment.

I counted chickens and cows and different animals to keep me distracted. It turned out that I was lucky.

There was a Kingfisher flight available (and that was pretty much the only flight leaving around that time) to Calcutta in about 45 minutes. Thanks to the recent merger, they’re now under one management and they were able to get me onto that flight instead but I had no time to dawdle. They rushed me to the security check (a nice person from KF took hold of my rather heavy rucksack) and before I knew it I was on the last seat of an already filled up flight. I was thanking my lucky stars that I had reached the airport really bright and early. Else, I would have been stranded.

That was the story of how I nearly did not reach Bangalore.

~~

I was sharing this with a friend in Mumbai and she had her own woes to share. While on their way to Guwahati, their flight from Calcutta got delayed. Instead of arriving for lunch at Guwahati (their initial arrival time), they arrived at 10 pm at night! And to add to their grief, their return flight in the evening at 6 pm got advanced to 12 noon. This they found out at 10 am when they called the airlines. With less than 2 hours to go, they had to get ready, pack up and get out of the city in time to reach the airport (which is quite far away from the city).

When they arrived, they were told that the flight was delayed and would leave around 3 or 4 pm. And then it got further postponed to 6 pm. They finally left at 6.30 pm, half and hour later than the initial time they had mentioned! This was with Air Sahara now called Jet Lite.

~~

Another friend said his flight had gotten cancelled a few hours prior with no replacement offered that day and he had no other option but to organize for a bus ticket at the last minute as he had some urgent work.

The other day, I read in the papers how an aircraft that was landing had to suddenly go back up in the air because there was another aircraft in its landing path. Were the air traffic folks sleeping?

My nightmare these days is my luggage getting mixed up and not turning up when I land. With a dozen aircrafts leaving at the same time, one mistake means I’ll have to spend most of my waking life trying to find my missing luggage. A scary thought indeed.

But if you have a horror story when it comes to air travel, please do share.

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17 Comments

  1. Missing luggage happened with us during a Europe trip.
    Few bags popped at Finland airport but main suitcases were missing and we had a connecting flight to Germany.
    After few worries and time we saw it lying somewhere alone.
    Thanks God we got it. No queries we did. 🙂

  2. I missed my connecting flight from Delhi to Kathmandu cos of the delay of Bangalore- Delhi deccan flight. Flight was scheduled for 5.50 am, we got boarding pass, baggage checked-in, we board the flight… and then we come to know that flight doesn’t have the power-unit which helps start it! As the PU also powers air-conditioning while the aircraft is on ground, it was hard to sit inside. So they asked us to get down, we waited on the runway for 2+ hours! Finally we reached Delhi by 11.00 at domestic terminal, our onward flight was at 11.20 (international) so couldn’t make it. (It takes more than 30 mins to go to international terminal from domestic terminal). Our Delhi-Kathmandu flight was booked in Jet Airways, though they couldn’t help us board the flight, they helped us get another flight.
    Now that deccan is merged with KF, they might get better.

  3. Nandish says

    Hi,
    Can you beat this???
    I was told to wait outside the bangalore airport for a few minutes bcos the airport was full. There was no place to go in…it was dat crowded.
    For a 1.5 hr flight to mumbai, i stood for 2.5 hrs in security check.

  4. @ Paavani: missing luggage during international travel? gosh, i’d be totally out of my mind then!

    @ Shrilatha: two and a half hours on the runaway? wow, that must be some kind of a record! i’m surprised they don’t check everything is in working order before the flight is ready for boarding!

    @ Nandish: bangalore airport… gosh. don’t even get me started! 2.5 hours in line for security check? wow! nowadays, with that screening machine outside, it’s a real pain. there’s a snaking line that extends to the moon and of course, you know how indians love queues 🙂

  5. It was just as crowded as Dadar station in Mumbai in the morning. On queues, there were concentric circles. 🙂

  6. Hi
    I so agree with Nandish. There should be at least a separate queue for senior citizens, my mother found it so tortorous, she is threating to travel by train from now onwards.
    Nandish, it is worse than Dadar station. And have you seen the mad scramble at the conveyer belt? A person was actually pushed and he fell on the belt and people continued to clamour for their baggage instead of helping him.
    ANd I have to travel to Mumbai again next week and Delhi thereafter. Sigh, hate travelling from the Bangalore airport.

  7. Passengers were seated on a Spicejet flight from Delhi to Cochin.I ws among them.It was suposed to take off @ 2:15pm.At around 3:00pm the pilot[dude] announces smugly that left engine is not working.So we cnnt take off till that gets fixed.So we were asked to stay put till a flight from Mumbai comes around 3:30pm.We were transferred onto that.Ofcourse no lunch was offered free to cover up for d inconvenience.But we had the liberty to purchase snacks from the airhostesses.I finally landed in kerala @ 7:15.
    Thats it!

  8. Hmmm one of my colleagues who went 4 diwali hols to Chennai from singapore in INDIAN, missed his luggage, when he reported to them, ground staffs asked to contact the helpdesk next day as it might got pushed to the next days flight, next day being Deevali – no one answered the call and 2 days later they said cooly they lost his baggage and was asked to – Claim for it,USD 20/ KG…..He was supposed to buy one new shirt 4 diwali,but ended up buying all he is having now – U got it he landed chennai without a Tee to change 🙂 Hail INDIAN !!

  9. I had a lot of them…
    1. Air Deccan got delayed by 5 hours for Hyderabad to Bangalore.

    2. Air Deccan got pre-poned, and gave me 30 mins notice that I need to be on a 1PM plane instead of 5PM. Luckily I stay just 10 mins away from airport and I am in.

    3. Stranded in London Gatwick for 10 hrs after circling around London city for 2 hours, and landing in a remote corner of airport, spending 2 hours in plane, with doors open(No AC because the plane ran out of fuel). all because Heathrow air traffic control’s computer system was down 🙁
    This was around 8 years ago

    4. Stranded on Chicago Ohare runway for 3 hours and got the flight diverted through Canada(took extra 3 hours) to reach New York. (Because of a storm on the way) Only good thing about this was the captain ordered a free Champagne for all passengers(Liquor is not free on domestic routes in US)

    5. Luggage was misplaced and reached next day or day after. It happened at least twice.(Once in Air France, and other I don’t remember)

  10. Really good and really interesting post. I expect (and other readers maybe :)) new useful posts from you!
    Good luck and successes in blogging!

  11. Anita,
    These days when I travel, I pack really light – 3 to 4 pairs of clothes, at the most. All of it fits neatly into one carrybag which I check in as cabin baggage. That way, I’m in control of my belongings & I find that I can waltz through airports without having to spend hours waiting at a conveyor belt for my precious luggage that would otherwise have been soiled, beaten and tossed around! Whadja think if idea?
    Cheers,
    Ravi

  12. Sudip Chowdhury says

    Thoroughly enjoyed the Travellogs and photos.

    Very creative indeed and keep it up. I will keep track for more on this site.

  13. @ Lubna: i agree. they should definitely have separate queues for senior citizens. the best thing about flying out from bangalore airport is that at least landing in any other airport feels so much better 🙂

    @ fibinse/vinod: thanks for sharing!

    @ srikanth: i think you can write a book on your horror stories!

    @ ravi: that is an awesome idea! i try and do that on short trips also. usually i carry a rucksack and pack everything in it. i’ve learnt the art of travelling light 🙂

    @ sudip: thanks sudip! please do drop in often 🙂

  14. My family and I travelled to India on Dec 25th. We were there for only 7 days to attend a wedding. We didn’t get our luggage. Now I am back in USA and still haven’t gotten my luggage. I have so much trouble getting hold of someone in the morning in India. Always get a message stating that line is busy for now and call back later. I can get a hold of someone at night time and it is different person and I have explain the whole story and I get a promise someone will call back and never happens. Not happy with the service so far.

  15. Hi!
    The same thing happened to my pal last spring!
    I think that a lot of the problems in planes stem from lack of space, if you travel economy.

  16. It’s becoming more and more difficult to travel with any luxury items these days. I love to travel light and the smaller and lighter my luggage the better. There are so many advantages to packing light!

  17. Pingback: Luggage Sets

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