Air travel was once considered a quick, efficient, and luxurious way to go reach your destination. But as airlines grow and outsource, even premium passengers are feeling the pinch. What has come to the fore is shoddy service and lack of accountability from the airlines.
Katuri Subbarao , a prominent Bangalore based industrialist was travelling from Bangalore to Washington via London. On his return journey from London to Bangalore, he faced severe issues with British Airways.
“The airline had confirmed my ticket bookings for business class in the month of April for the journey in June. I was also given the boarding pass and the seats for that particular fight”, said Mr Subbharao.
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In spite of that, he waited near the check in gate for more than 25 mins for clearance. After that, he was denied an entry to the flight reason sighted was that, that there were no seats in business class and the fight can not accommodate him even in the economy class.
“This was ridiculous as I had to urgently take my dose of medicine which cannot be skipped, the next day back in Bangalore, India”, said Mr. Subbharao. He also said that the flight in charge had threatened him in the name of police if he insisted on travelling by that flight.
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“I was assertive and asked them to call the police”, said Mr Subbharao. “After settling the dispute the officials of British Airways asked me to take the next flight to Delhi as there were no flights to Bangalore on that day”, he added.
As per the instructions he took the Delhi-bound flight , but that was not the end of the ordeal. ” I waited near the luggage belt for 1 hour, but there was no trace of my luggage”, said Mr Subbharao.
There were no representatives of British Airways in the airport lounge to help the passengers in a problem. The airline has outsourced their full business to a call centre in India. “I was not attended by any ground staff properly, no one came for any help from the airline. Finally, after 3 hrs a ground staff confirmed that the luggage cannot be traced and I had to board the Bangalore flight as it was on the same evening from Delhi”, said Mr Subbharao.
According to Mr Subbharao, after a number of enquiries he has received a confirmation of the traced bags which are yet to be delivered.
This incident speaks volumes about British Airways , which was known for its premium service but seems to be slipping on customer service
Mr. Subbharao also quoted that, ” I feel cheated by this behavior and this amounts to forgery and also want to know , who is responsible for any problems faced by British Airways passengers in India, as they don’t have any office here?” While BA was not available for comments, it is clear that the Civil Aviation Ministry needs to put into place a passenger code which ensure rights of Indian travellers are safeguarded.
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