Hundred-odd passengers of a Kolkata -Mumbai Air India flight were put to inconvenience and hardship as it was delayed by 22 hours due to technical snag in the aircraft.
Air India flight AI-775 from here was scheduled to take off for Mumbai at 16:45 yesterday but it could depart only at 14:45 hours today that too after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was taking a flight from the airport, intervened, an affected passenger said.
When contacted, an Air India spokesperson said the flight had to be rescheduled several times due to problems in the aircraft. "The flight finally departed from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at 14:45," the spokesperson said.
Alleging that Air India's airport staff was not only "rude" and "arrogant" in dealing with the passengers despite such an inordinate delay, the passenger said, "The airline staff was also not ready to serve us meals on the ground that it would be done so when the flight takes off. And it was only after we protested that the dinner was served to us."
He said the airline had initially said that the flight was delayed by an hour but then kept extending it on almost hourly basis.
"Then we were informed that they had been clubbing this flight with another one to Mumbai and that the combined flight would take off at 11:30 hrs. Finally, they said that the flight stand cancelled and it would be operated only this (Sunday) morning at 10:00 hours," the passenger said.
"Even the hotel accommodation which were provided to us was not decent at all," the passenger alleged.
However, the flight failed to take off even at 1000 hours and the passengers were again informed that the problem in the aircraft had not been rectified.
"After failing to get any firm reply from the airline staff on the expected departure, some of the passengers met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was there to catch a flight to North Bengal. She assured us that she would talk to the airport staff," the passenger said.