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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

January 6, 2009

Foggy deal: The Conniving ways of Airlines

Delhi & the north was engulfed in a thick blanket of Fog over the year end, the newspaper & channels screamed of the innumerable flight & train delays that had been a result of this . The Fog would descend like a thick white blanket early in the evening & would refuse to budge well into the middle of the day later. And worse, I had a number of scheduled flight tickets between 30th Dec & 3rd Jan in & out of Delhi especially in the early mornings & late evenings. I had to cancel some of them & reschedule the others. So when I approached the airlines reservation staff at Delhi with this problem they were to give me a different picture. They said all flights had departed on time the previous day & that they were non committal on any possible delays the next day. That meant I would either have to forgo the cancellation charges or wait till the last very moment to check on delay status for full refund. And their rule book said that I would be eligible for a full refund on cancellation only if there was a preponement of 20 minutes or postponement of 50 minutes or more.

One look outside was all it required to figure out the situation but the Airline staff kept on repeating the usuals; weather can change anytime, clearances may be given based on ground situation blah blah... The delays of the previous days or the severity of the current situation did not seem to in any way have a bearing on them . While I cancelled one of my trips & took a similar schedule for a different destination the same day did I realize the true picture. My Flight to Lucknow which was scheduled to depart at 9 a.m actually took of at 1:00 pm. But there was technically no delay on behalf of the airlines, because they gave us the boarding passes at 8:45 am saying that the flight would depart on time and made us wait for a full 4 hours subsequently on the bus at the tarmac & inside the aircraft. A good part of 25 minutes were spent in the near freezing conditions in the former, with elderly & small children having to bear the brunt. A similar thing would have surely happened with my cancelled ticket which was to depart at the same time. Yet they refused to acknowledge any delay & made me forgo the base fare charges even after I had cancelled 1 Hr prior to the flight. For the conniving airlines, and a blind & indifferent Airport authorities , this was not a delay since the flights boarded on time.

Why did the airport authorities give clearance for boarding when they knew that visibility was low & flight would be delayed by hours? The flight attendants said that this could possibly be due to accommodation problems at the airport! Now this shows the state of Apathy in the authorities who seem to have more sympathy for airlines than passengers. For the airlines it is a convenient way to skip the cancellation refund clauses by technically boarding the passengers & make them wait for hours on the runway. Now who says the airlines are Bleeding?
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