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. â€œWhat do I do?â€ 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.