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Here is an interesting news item from the Sunday Times, dated July 13th, regarding the grounding of three Air India Dreamliners in a single week.
One in Sydney on Thursday
because of a landing gear snag – it would have been unable to retract its wheels after take-off. Engineers and spare parts were to arrive on Friday, but the delay would be for two to three days.
One in Hong Kong last Monday
when the Dreamliner sprang an oil leak. It was still in Hong Kong as of Sunday.
Last Saturday, in Delhi, another Boeing 787 had trouble with its braking assembly
, and the unfortunate passengers spent hours inside the plane.
Delhi has yet to see the monsoon; it must have been incredibly hot.
I wonder what happened to these passengers? Were they made to wait for hours, as we were on 2nd July
Were they made to sit in the plane for hours, as we were, while the crew told us the snag would be rectified in a few minutes.
We were finally off-loaded, but got the same statement. Reached a hotel at midnight, with no food. Our plane arrived in Mumbai 30 hours late.
My son returned from England on Air India B 787 (AI 130) on 9th July, which was delayed for several hours due to a ‘technical snag’. The plane took off with no lights in the passenger section other than the emergency lights, no entertainment, and cold food as the ovens were not working. I wonder just how legal it was to fly passengers under such conditions. He said there was no information given, no explanations, and of course no offer of compensation. I do hope some of those passengers complain.
I now see that Air India has joined Star Alliance.
I wonder if this will improve matters. Or is it just another way to fool passengers into believing the airlines really care about their passenger?
Unless passengers start complaining and asserting their right to decent treatment, they will get the treatment they have, sadly, come to expect. But should we expect to be treated as if we don’t matter? Should we, as my agent suggested, upgrade to business class so we get seats comfortably wide and spaced further apart, although at a huge cost? And will this prevent AI from bluffing that they will take off shortly when they know it will be several hours, if not longer? I don’t think so.
This is what we want:
- Airlines should communicate to passengers the reason for delay, clearly and frequently, giving the true estimated time needed for repairs.
- If the airline knows repairs will take several hours, passengers should be given the option of changing to another airline.
- Passengers should get their baggage back. If you are going on holiday you don’t want to wait several days while your bags catch up with you.
Even if you are going home, you don ‘t want to make a couple of trips to your airport – which may be distant – to find out if your bags have arrived. You want your baggage with you. Few of us can carry a change of clothes and other necessities in our hand baggage.
- If passengers opt to stay with the airline they should get food and accommodation if needed without having to scream for it.
- Passengers should be given a lounge with seating, decent facilities for food, access to toilets, and facilities for children and the elderly, who have special needs of their own.
They should not be left standing around wondering what happens next, and afraid to go to the rest-room in case they miss an announcement.
Acquiring the Boeing 787 seems to have been a huge mistake. It has been plagued with problems from inception, and all the gimmicks of darkening windows and self-flushing toilets will not change the fact that this aircraft was a bad buy. The Dreamliner has become a nightmare, and passengers would be well advised to avoid booking flights on this aircraft.
There is a rumour that eight of Air India’s fleet of Dreamliners are being used for spares…. obviously I can’t verify this.
And if you go to their Facebook page
it is full of praises for the new airliner…a lot of them (if not all) seem to be AI employees!
Perhaps a prerequisite for being employed by AI. I hope not.