So, first of all let me tell you it took four years for me to write this down. The reason is nothing but i ignored it to my best. But recently again disputes have started from the national carrier as well as the airport officials. You might have heard the news a week ago that the renowned South Indian singer M Jayachandran was ill treated when he stood up for his rights at Karipur International airport.
He also stated that pravasi or the Indians residing in the Gulf countries are more the victims to this harassment by these airliners. What if it be our own national carrier ?! Pretty shame.
Ohkay ! The story begins like this. Me along with my family was travelling back to our hometown Kochi, Kerala for the summer holidays. We booked Air India due to unavailability of tickets in other carriers. As you know the airline is the king of delays ! So we try our maximum not to book them. So, this time we had no choice, we went forward with it. Hopefully thinking we would have a safe and a comfortable journey.
We had our flight scheduled at 7:50 am in the morning. Got up a bit early like 4:00 am, did our routines and packed the remaining bags and by 5 quarters started the journey to King Fahad International airport which is like about 50 mins travel from home.
We arrived on time, checked in our baggage’s and took our boarding pass.
And the first thing we did was to check the flight information screen. Yeah ! Flight on time.
So we did our emigration processes and waited at the terminal.
Time flew and it was 8:10 am, suddenly the “on-time” sign changed to “delay”. Sheeeesh ! we kept our hands on forehead and sat with a sigh.
God this is never gonna make it on time !.
After an hour the board showed three hours delay. Thanks to the free WiFi network, I connected my then Nokia touch express music onto it and kept myself busy. Me and my sister kept sharing it in turns. Well three hours past, its 11:30 am still no sign of the aircraft. I started feeling hungry, we actually had our breakfast early early morning. So we went to the Coffee talk and had something light to keep our tummies filled.
Its now 12 in the noon. OK, now we don’t see a sign on the information board. No airport officials at the gates too ! Now the passengers got impatient and started inquiring. The airport officials showed no response at all. They said “we are not getting any information from the airline staffs” as simple as that.
it’s 2:00 pm ! what about lunch ?! i was literally starving as hell ! They were so many families among passengers including infants. After a lot of pleading the airline staffs showed up. They said they will provide us Lunch within an hour. At last by 3:00 PM we had our worst lunch ever !! stale chapattis and curries which sucked to the core !
Nevertheless, we had them. Now it’s 5:00 PM, imagine we were supposed to go on the 8:00 am flight ! and now it’s 5:00 PM !! i am already on the edge of my tolerance because i had nothing to do except keep staring at the Arabic MBC Channel which kept running all day long.
Again rushed to the Coffee Talk for a cup of cuppa chino.
Now that passengers started yelling and shouting at the officers demanding to meet the Airline manager. Then came the manager, and he said that the aircraft is facing some technical issues that in substitution to that another aircraft has been sent from Delhi !
Delhi ?! I was wonder struck, it takes around four and half hours for that aircraft to come. I could not even wait a minute longer in that airport.
It’s 8:00 pm, All our cell batteries started draining. To our horror the charging points require an adapter to convert into two pin and we did not have one. Done with it ! No cells and Laptops too. Keep staring at that television or sleep on the couches. When it was 10:00 pm !! They said the flight is not going to make it today. Wow ! wonderful i said to myself.
Why the heck can’t these people tell earlier. Instead they said they would take us to a hotel for the night.
But there is a rule in the Kingdom. Those who are travelling in exit visa will not be able to re-enter the country at any cause. We were travelling on Exit- Re entry visa. So that does not imply to us. But !! a family with a toddler and months old infant was travelling on Exit visa.
The airline did not show any courtesy towards them instead they allotted the prayer room for them to stay without bed and other facilities to spend the night with just carpets spread all over the floor.
We where taken to the SAPTCO bus waiting outside the airport.
We left the airport and reached the hotel by 10:00 pm. We where made to stay at the Al-Hamra Golden Tulip hotel in Ad Dammam.
We checked in at the reception, handed over our passports at the reception and went to our rooms.
We had dinner at the restaurant down stairs.
Jumped over the beds and went onto a deep sleep.
But at 3 am in the morning, the phone rang and we were asked to report at the reception as our flight will be in an hour, by 5:00 AM. Woohooo ! But was sleepy has hell.
Reached the airport and boarded the aircraft and flew !!
We touched down at Calicut (Karipur) International airport. Actually the passenger to Cochin as to remain on board and the aircraft was disembarking the passengers to Calicut. We waited for the flight to take-off. Then we noticed that it was getting hotter inside the carrier. It looks like the engines is turned off. Passengers started to inquire and came to now that the pilots were on strike that they are not willing to fly the aircraft unless they are paid the remaining salary ! The air hostess gave a frown look to us. Okay ! what on earth should the passenger do ? Why should they suffer for this ?
We were made to get down the aircraft. We haven’t had breakfast. The Karipur staffs came with a bread sandwich which was totally cold. The children started crying they haven’t had a proper food for a day now. Know Passengers started arguing with the staffs and and they said they will arrange a bus to Kochin without compensation when we paid the air fare till Kochin. No way !! Even the airport officials in Karipur were befriending them and they behaved in a mean full manner. They did even consider the female travelers as well. Finally, some passengers entered the managers room and caught his collar (that is what i heard) and suddenly from no where the flights were arranged.
Finally, we landed at Kochin around 12 in the noon. Coming to an end to this tragic travel. We were welcomed by a group of medias to explain to them about the Airline experience, well whatever is done they remain the same !!
Well, this was the worst air travel i ever had in my entire life. AI plays cheap tactics to earn profits, it’s not that they can’t find a solution. They don’t try to find a solution. I cannot say their long haul flight to US ans UK are similar to this but the Middle East sector sucks !
At least the staffs have to learn hospitality before they work in a hospitality sector. Well, made a decision to never ever opt this again !
Fingers Crossed !
Have you had similar experiences ? Share it on the comments below 🙂
Thanks for reading.