Flying from Mumbai Airport: A poor experience

  • 8
  • December 14, 2017

It’s​ ​that​ ​time​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year​ ​again​ ​when​ ​people​ ​who​ ​have​ ​been​ ​saving​ ​their​ ​precious​ ​leaves all​ ​year​ ​long​ ​from​ ​their​ ​offices​ ​and​ ​institutions​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year.​ ​It’s​ ​winter​ ​season and​ ​with​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​fog​ ​and​ ​impromptu​ ​rains.​ ​During​ ​this​ ​time​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year,​ ​people​ ​just​ ​start expecting​ ​issues​ ​with​ ​airlines​ ​and​ ​flights​ ​that​ ​they​ ​provide.​ ​But​ ​is​ ​this​ ​the​ ​only​ ​cause​ ​for​ ​flight delays​ ​or​ ​is​ ​this​ ​just​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​many​ ​excuses​ ​that​ ​are​ ​fed​ ​to​ ​us​ ​by​ ​the​ ​authorities?​ ​The​ ​airlines and​ ​airports​ ​are​ ​quick​ ​to​ ​exchange​ ​blame​ ​for​ ​flight​ ​delays​ ​and​ ​other​ ​problems​ ​that​ ​hinder​ ​easy travel​ ​for​ ​frequent​ ​flyers.

Indian​ ​airline​ ​industry​ ​has​ ​been​ ​growing​ ​at​ ​a​ ​consistent​ ​pace.​ ​The​ ​domestic​ ​passenger traffic​ ​is​ ​being​ ​doubled​ ​almost​ ​every​ ​five​ ​years.​ ​​It​ ​has​ ​grown​ ​from​ ​2.3​ ​crore​ ​passengers​ ​in 2005​ ​to​ ​5.1​ ​crore​ ​in​ ​2010​ ​and​ ​now​ ​it​ ​stands​ ​at​ ​nearly​ ​10​ ​crore​ ​in​ ​2016​.​ ​​According​ ​to Centre​ ​for​ ​Asia​ ​Pacific​ ​Aviation​ ​(CAPA)​ ​data,​ ​this​ ​makes​ ​India​ ​the​ ​third​ ​largest​ ​domestic air​ ​market​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​according​ ​to​ ​International​ ​Air​ ​Transport​ ​Association​ ​(IATA) India​ ​is​ ​expected​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​largest​ ​by​ ​2030​.

However,​ ​the​ ​question​ ​is,​ ​are​ ​Indian​ ​airlines​ ​and​ ​more​ ​importantly​ ​the​ ​airports​ ​capable​ ​of handling​ ​the​ ​surging​ ​traffic​ ​efficiently?​ ​If​ ​you​ ​were​ ​to​ ​ask​ ​a​ ​random​ ​person​ ​this​ ​they​ ​would answer​ ​‘No’​ ​without​ ​even​ ​a​ ​seconds​ ​delay​ ​(no​ ​pun​ ​intended).

Let’s​ ​look​ ​at​ ​​data​ ​released​ ​by​ ​Directorate​ ​General​ ​of​ ​Civil​ ​Aviation​ ​(DGCA)​ ​for​ ​the year​ ​2017​ ​(until​ ​August),​ ​one-fourth​ ​of​ ​all​ ​the​ ​flights​ ​ran​ ​late​ ​and​ ​almost​ ​5​ ​percent​ ​of​ ​the flights​ ​got​ ​cancelled.​ ​About​ ​24​ ​percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​flights​ ​run​ ​by​ ​Indian​ ​domestic​ ​carriers​ ​are never​ ​on​ ​time.​ ​Among​ ​the​ ​first​ ​eight​ ​months​ ​of​ ​2017,​ ​the​ ​worst​ ​was​ ​January​ ​with​ ​only​ ​62 percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​flights​ ​being​ ​on​ ​time​,​ ​expectedly,​ ​as​ ​flights​ ​get​ ​delayed​ ​due​ ​to​ ​low​ ​visibility especially​ ​on​ ​North​ ​Indian​ ​airports.

In​ ​first​ ​eight​ ​months,​ ​​airlines​ ​have​ ​already​ ​spent​ ​Rs​ ​34​ ​Cr​ ​towards​ ​compensation and​ ​facilities​.​ ​​Carriers​ ​paid​ ​Rs​ ​22.7​ ​Cr​ ​to​ ​compensate​ ​the​ ​passengers​ ​which​ ​were​ ​denied boarding,​ ​translating​ ​into​ ​an​ ​average​ ​of​ ​Rs​ ​13.66​ ​thousand​ ​per​ ​passenger​.​ ​​Airlines​ ​also incurred​ ​expenses​ ​of​ ​Rs​ ​4.15​ ​Cr​ ​towards​ ​facilities​ ​and​ ​compensation​ ​for​ ​passengers whose​ ​flights​ ​got​ ​cancelled​ ​and​ ​Rs​ ​7.13​ ​Cr​ ​towards​ ​passengers​ ​whose​ ​flights​ ​got delayed​ ​by​ ​more​ ​than​ ​two​ ​hours​.

Keeping​ ​aside​ ​the​ ​weather​ ​conditions​ ​and​ ​unpredictable​ ​difficulties​ ​what​ ​else​ ​could​ ​be the​ ​reason​ ​behind​ ​such​ ​a​ ​poor​ ​performance​ ​and​ ​such​ ​delays?​ ​What​ ​most​ ​people​ ​miss​ ​is​ ​the very​ ​integral​ ​part​ ​our​ ​airports​ ​play​ ​in​ ​this.​ ​First​ ​of​ ​all​ ​lets​ ​face​ ​it​ ​there​ ​not​ ​nearly​ ​enough​ ​airports as​ ​required.​ ​People​ ​can​ ​not​ ​expect​ ​to​ ​just​ ​easily​ ​board​ ​flights​ ​in​ ​their​ ​small​ ​towns​ ​and​ ​cities. They​ ​have​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​to​ ​some​ ​metro​ ​or​ ​other​ ​major​ ​city​ ​to​ ​do​ ​that.​ ​People​ ​who​ ​reside​ ​in​ ​these cities​ ​have​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​an​ ​hour​ ​via​ ​some​ ​vehicle​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​a​ ​dimly​ ​lit​ ​poorly​ ​managed​ ​airport​ ​on​ ​the outskirts​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city.

Now​ ​after​ ​traveling​ ​an​ ​for​ ​an​ ​hour​ ​a​ ​person​ ​reaches​ ​he​ ​has​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​the​ ​airport​ ​at​ ​least​ ​2 hours​ ​before​ ​the​ ​flight​ ​because​ ​they​ ​will​ ​have​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​it​ ​confronting​ ​all​ ​the​ ​formalities​ ​with untrained​ ​professionals.​ ​After​ ​accomplishing​ ​all​ ​of​ ​this​ ​the​ ​poor​ ​flyer​ ​will​ ​then​ ​have​ ​face​ ​delays, cancellations​ ​for​ ​which​ ​most​ ​likely​ ​there​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​no​ ​refunds​ ​because​ ​nobody​ ​will​ ​be​ ​held responsible.

If​ ​by​ ​some​ ​miracle​ ​the​ ​flyer​ ​does​ ​not​ ​face​ ​any​ ​of​ ​this​ ​there​ ​is​ ​sure​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​delay​ ​in​ ​flight take​ ​off​ ​and​ ​then​ ​flight​ ​landing​ ​because​ ​once​ ​again​ ​the​ ​staff​ ​that​ ​handles​ ​this​ ​is​ ​not​ ​either​ ​not trained​ ​well​ ​enough​ ​or​ ​lacks​ ​proper​ ​equipment​ ​to​ ​do​ ​so.​ ​There​ ​have​ ​been​ ​times​ ​when passengers​ ​had​ ​to​ ​sleep​ ​in​ ​the​ ​waiting​ ​area​ ​because​ ​of​ ​issues​ ​faced​ ​by​ ​lacking​ ​airport authorities.

For​ ​example​ ​over​ ​250​ ​passengers​ ​were​ ​left​ ​stranded​ ​at​ ​Chhatrapati​ ​Shivaji​ ​International Airport​ ​after​ ​a​ ​​Mumbai-Ahmedabad​ ​Air​ ​India​ ​flight​ ​on​ ​December​ ​2,​ ​2017​ ​was​ ​delayed​ ​for over​ ​7​ ​hours​.​ ​Passengers​ ​raised​ ​protest​ ​&​ ​alleged​ ​they​ ​were​ ​not​ ​given​ ​food​ ​or accommodation.​ ​Unfortunately​ ​this​ ​is​ ​not​ ​something​ ​new,​ ​​in​ ​July​ ​of​ ​2016,​ ​GoAir​ ​reported on-time​ ​performance​ ​below​ ​50​ ​percent​ ​for​ ​flights​ ​from​ ​Mumbai​ ​airport.​​ ​This​ ​means​ ​at​ ​least every​ ​second​ ​flight​ ​(sometimes​ ​more)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​airline​ ​from​ ​Mumbai​ ​was​ ​delayed​ ​during​ ​the​ ​month.

So​ ​the​ ​question​ ​arises,​ ​what​ ​exactly​ ​can​ ​a​ ​flyer​ ​do​ ​when​ ​faced​ ​with​ ​such​ ​overwhelming atrocities​ ​but​ ​plead​ ​with​ ​no​ ​result​ ​to​ ​the​ ​authorities​ ​to​ ​better​ ​handle​ ​their​ ​protocols​ ​and
procedures.​ ​The​ ​airports​ ​along​ ​with​ ​authorities​ ​running​ ​this​ ​massive​ ​industry​ ​in​ ​India​ ​need​ ​to start​ ​working​ ​towards​ ​providing​ ​better​ ​services​ ​or​ ​else​ ​passengers,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​airlines,​ ​will keep​ ​bleeding​ ​money​ ​and,​ ​above​ ​all​ ​else,​ ​precious​ ​time.​ ​So​ ​all​ ​the​ ​Indian​ ​airlines​ ​and​ ​more importantly​ ​airport​ ​authorities​ ​who​ ​take​ ​the​ ​travellers​ ​and​ ​tourists​ ​of​ ​the​ ​nation​ ​lightly​ ​need​ ​to buckle​ ​up​ ​lest​ ​they​ ​wish​ ​to​ ​find​ ​an​ ​end​ ​to​ ​their​ ​businesses.

References ​ ​ and ​ ​ Sources

https://www.refundme.in/
http://dgca.nic.in
https://centreforaviation.com/data/profiles/industry-associations/iata
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/passengers-create-ruckus-at-mumbai-airport-ov er-flight-delay/articleshow/61889718.cms
An​ ​article​ ​is​ ​written​ ​by​ ​Ayush​ ​Agarwal,​ ​a​ ​student​ ​of​ ​UPES
An​ ​article​ ​is​ ​written​ ​by​ ​Shubham​ ​Raj
http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/data-story-the-state-of-indias-airlines-and-the-onethats-the-most-punctual-of-all-2414677.html
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/personal-finance-news/what-are-your-rights-whenflying/articleshow/59080161.cms

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