Flight delays, baggage mishandling and bad customer service made up a major chunk of the complaints received by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the first half of this year
If one goes by figures, it seems that domestic passengers haven’t had a good flying experience in the first half of the year. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has received a total of 6,897 complaints from January to July from passengers all over the country.
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Of the complaints, almost 31 per cent were about flight delays, and 25 per cent were about customer services. Almost 22 per cent of passengers complained about delays in baggage delivery. Other reasons comprised of staff behaviour, catering, refund and fare.
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Flight delays are always a matter of concern for airlines. However, while a large percentage of complaints were about delays, they have been on the decline every month on the domestic sector. Almost 19 per cent of these complaints were about Spicejet, 9 per cent about national carrier Air India, whereas Jet Airways, Indigo Airlines and Go Air had about to 5 to 6 per cent complaints each registered against them.
The highest number of complaints received by the DGCA has been about flight delays this year
Technical glitches were behind 24 per cent of delayed flights this year. Weather was also an important reason for delaying almost 20 per cent flights.
While explaining what is constituted as flight delay, an official from the Mumbai Air Traffic Control (ATC) said, “A flight has two types of arrival time. One - real time, other - estimated time, which is with a buffer of ten minutes of real time. When a flight exceeds its estimated time it is addressed as a delay.”
Another crucial reason for complaints, which creates panic among passengers, is cancellation of flights. According to a DGCA report, till July, SpiceJet cancelled 19 per cent of their flights. But it should be noted that SpiceJet’s On Time Performance (OTP) according to Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) data for the month of September bettered its number considerably, and the departure OTP for September now stands at 85 per cent.
Air India secured second position for cancellation, as almost 4 per cent of their flights got cancelled. Jet Airways, Indigo Airlines and Go Air’s records show that 2 to 2.5 per cent of their flights were cancelled.
Some passengers feel the airlines should look after passengers well. Sherel D’Souza, a lecturer and a frequent flier said, “One of my friends was forced to wait for her baggage for 12 days, as the airline misplaced it.
The airlines in the country take passengers for granted. They are sued abroad for mishandling baggage but in India the airlines harass their guests over that, which should be taken up legally.
Another passenger, Karan Shrimankar, a director in a private firm and a flier who experienced flight cancellation twice, said, “My flight happened to be delayed for an hour and we weren’t informed about it. It is the duty of the airline to cater to its passengers but they fail to do so. Mere apologies aren’t the solution for everything.”