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Debt-riddled Kingfisher cancels 20 flights, catches passengers unawares

Hundreds stand in queues for hours at Bangalore International Airport only to realise their trips were cancelled; airline says sorry to 'inconvenienced guests'

Even as the debt-riddled Kingfisher Airlines is trying hard to wriggle out of the grip of bankruptcy, its passengers are left to fend for themselves at the Bangalore International Airport yesterday. Many passengers were in for an early morning shock yesterday when they learnt at least 20 flights had been cancelled.


Kingfisher Airlines owned by Vijay Mallya owes airport operators
and state oil companies Rs 1,300 crore


The ground staff, who were also unaware of cancellations, ushered in passengers only add insult to injury. The passengers, who followed tele and web check-in modes, still had to wait for hours in spiraling queues to enter the airport.

"I reached the airport at about 7 am and had opted for the tele check in. But on reaching the airport, I realised that one of my connecting flights was cancelled.

The official at the ticket counter learnt about this only after I enquired about the status of the flight. They didn't even know how to help us and as a result I missed my flight from Bangalore to Kolkata," said T Mary, a customer.

Another customer claimed that the ground staff misbehaved with her. "When I reached the airport two hours prior to my flight, I realised that there was a long queue. But the queue was so long that I couldn't reach the counter on time and when I did reach, I realised that the flight was cancelled.
 
There was no announcement and the Kingfisher staff were clueless about the cancellation till the last moment," said the customer.

When questioned about the same, Kingfisher Airlines issued an official statement addressing the problems. "We reached out to all our guests who were booked on these cancelled flights to re-accommodate them either on our flights or other airline flights.

We offered full refund to those who so desired. We apologise to our valued guests who might have been inconvenienced," said Sanjay Aggarwal, CEO, Kingfisher Airlines in the official statement.

He further added that Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) had reduced frequency on some of flights, which are predominantly over weekends. The frequency flights has also been decreased in the routes where demand has taken a dip. "For a limited period, these flights are either being cancelled or clubbed with other KFA flights in a well-controlled and pre-determined manner.
 
This step has been taken in a planned manner and in close coordination with our travel partners and guest relations teams to avoid any inconvenience that may be caused to our guests. Our guest relations staff are in touch with individual guests scheduled to travel on the cancelled flights, to accommodate them on alternate KFA flights or on other airlines," the statement noted.

When MiD DAY caught up with a few ground staff members, they claimed to have no knowledge of flight cancellations as no official word had reached them from their superiors. "We do not know. You can call the customer care and find out," said one of the staff members.

When MiD DAY reached the customer care, they too claimed to be unaware of the problem. The official Kingfisher booking website did not have any updates of cancellations either.

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