About 45 passengers, including NRIs and tourists, aboard Air India’s San Francisco-Delhi flight 174 were made to suffer for 20 hours this month. According to the complaints lodged by the passengers, a section of the plane had no light, no air vent and no TV set functioning.
Surprisingly, passengers say crew knew of the problem prior to the flight taking off from San Francisco on November 18. More surprising was the answer to the problem, "snag could not be corrected in time so we have no option but to take off."
When the passengers, sitting in the dark with no air vent, brought it to the notice of the crew members, all they got was a complaint form but no relief on the terrible 20-hour journey they embarked on from San Francisco.
Janette K. Neff,a 78-year-old passenger among those inconvenienced, has now threatened Air India with legal action.
In a mail, dated November 22, to Air India, she said, "I arrived on ft #174 on 11/19. For 20 hrs I had no functioning media centre, no light no air vent I sat in the dark, hot unable to sleep, I was told that the electrical system didn't work on earlier flight and was not repaired.(sic)”
Once bitten twice shy, Neff, who has a return ticket for December 2, has got her seat changed but wants an upgrade to first class and has threatened with legal action if her demand is not met.
“I had seat changed for flt #173 on 12/2 Delhi to SF, but was told he could not upgrade me as compensation for my discomfort. If not upgraded (first class?) I will speak to my attorney in San Francisco and will post my info on Facebook. I am a senior (citizen) and that long trip was intolerable. A complimentary ticket is not an option. Please respond immediately," she further wrote in her e-mail to the national carrier’s customer care.
Talking to India TV, she said, ''This is the worst flight in my 78 years of life. I have contacted two different customer services with four e-mails with no reply. I have called Air India so many times, I cannot count. No one gives me any answer if my return flight will also be as horrible as last time.''
Air India, on its part, has shot off two replies to Neff, one asking for the “Air India e-ticket number” and another acknowledging the complaint and apologising for the inconvenience.
“This is to acknowledge your mail. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. We certainly understand the situation and have processed your concern to the relevant department. Please wait for sometime, our team will get back to you,” an e-mail by Air India, dated November 25, read.
An Air India spokesperson did not respond to the queries sent by India TV in this regard till the time of filing this report.
Jeff told India TV that there were total 45 passengers in the section and all they could do was fill out a complaint form.
A long and tiring journey like this, the only source of entertainment for passengers is the TV set on the back of the seat in front of them. However, all these 45 passengers could do during their entire journey, was glare at the blank screens - that too in the dark.