Sunday, February 05, 2012

"Consumer is the King" and other old jokes...

#This is part one of a multi-part blog post

I never really wanted to vent personal angst on my blog. I mean I have written sarcastic stuff before on here, but have never really made it personal. But I am mighty pissed with what's been happening around me. And I want to call thieves 'thieves' now, and in public.

Work makes me travel to Delhi / Bombay at times. This time, I was flying to Delhi by Jet Lite. Normally I reach the airport way before the customary '45 minutes before flight departure time' and check-in and stuff. This time too, I reached a safe one hour before and stood in the baggage screening queue (yes, they still have these in Calcutta!). The queue was unusually long and it took me a good 10 minutes to get my baggage scanned and tagged. I headed for check-in and the lady at the counter coolly told me that the check-in has been closed for the flight. I didn't really get what she meant and I asked for a clarification. She told me that check-in closes 45 minutes before flight departure time. I looked at both my mobiles - one showed that there were 46 minutes left before flight's scheduled departure and the other showed 47 minutes! I told her so. She said it was 45 minutes as per her watch. I countered that, even by that time, I was bang 45 minutes before departure and she couldn't refuse me. Hearing the commotion, the person standing behind me asked where was I flying to. I told him. He was flying to Delhi too and he too came forward and asked the lady for an explanation. The lady told us that they had been repeatedly announcing closure of check-in for the past half an hour. Both of us told her we had not heard a single announcement and usually in such cases the airline staff is out there helping passengers come forward in the baggage screening and check-in queues. None of that happened. Seeing that we were not to be laid off that easily, she called her supervisor. The fat lady arrived and after hearing us out, she gave an expression of utmost disinterest as if this was a regular affair. She wandered off to another counter and wasted a good 10 minutes looking around stupidly. I shouted across to her - 'now you are wasting time, we were here on time.. !' She came back, made a call to check if two passengers can be accommodated, got a confirmation in 2 minutes.. and asked us to head for security check-in.
We literally ran all our way to the boarding gate. I found that the boarding gate was locked and, for a second, I thought that the boarding was actually over. I spotted a Jet official and rushed to him. He asked me to sit in the waiting area. I thought he didn't really understand and told him that I was flying to Delhi and had to board the flight. He told me that the flight hasn't yet arrived so I need to wait in the waiting area. It then sunk in that the flight was actually delayed because it hadn't arrived yet! I lost my temper and told the guy about the drama at the check-in counter. He coolly told me that it was my fault and that it was for all passengers' convenience ... and walked off, leaving me seething with anger.
It was later that my colleagues told me that airlines often overbook flights and have to resort to such tactics to accommodate the extra passengers they have booked, or that they want to sell tickets at the last minute to make more money by cancelling tickets of passengers who arrive late. But in what manner? In the name of service and customers' convenience, can someone harass so easily and get away?

8 comments:

Kavity said...

You came to Delhi and didn't meet me?
Otherwise, yes, agree with you. It is a huge, huge problem, I have heard this happen to a number of my colleagues before.

Yogesh said...

I have given up on you- last so many times when I was visiting Delhi / Bombay, you have always ditched me :P

Kavity said...

Yeah right! When you come to Delhi, am in Bombay and vice versa! So, please call me next time you are in either city. It has been ages!!

Ashwinikumar Patil said...

Have had better experiences with Airlines. Once when they were to cancel my tickets, but then a smile and patience works greats with ladies at ticket counter. At least, I would want to think so. It might as well be that there were seats available on the flight.

Gargi Gupta said...

I so agree with you...The ground staff act like they own the complete airline company...Good that you shared :)

Yogesh said...

@Kavity - Will do

@AP - Maybe the ladies are soft with more mature looking men :P

@Gargi - Yes, it's high time. And more to come!

Unknown said...

Hi it's common with most international airlines as well (I hv experienced the same on Fly Emitates even after arriving 90mins bfor departure).
One way to get over such xperience is to make online check in

Yogesh said...

@unknown - Thanks. I do check-in online when I am not carrying any check-in luggage. But then someone needs to put a stop to the airlines' funny ways

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