Air India today (June 8) said it will refund the full amount to all passengers affected by the diversion of its Delhi-San Francisco flight of June 6 (Tuesday) owing to mid-air glitch, according to an airline communication. In the communication by Air India Chief Customer Experience and Ground Handling Officer Rajesh Dogra, the airline told the passengers, who reached their destination after nearly 56 hours of departing from Delhi: "We will fully refund the fare for your journey and, in addition, provide you a voucher for future travel on Air India".
Air India flight AI 173 operating Delhi-SFO on June 6, carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew on board, was diverted to the Magadan port city in far east Russia following a mid-air glitch in one of the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft engines. On Wednesday, the airline dispatched a ferry flight to Magadan from Mumbai to fly the stranded passengers and crew from there to San Francisco.
The replacement aircraft, which landed at Magadan at 06.14 am (local time) had got airborne at 1027 hours (local time) on June 8, for San Francisco, where it touched down at 12.07 am on June 8. Besides expressing "regret" for the disruption and inconvenience, the airline also "sincerely apologised" to the customers for the "extended delay" in bringing them to their destination, as per the communication.
"The aircraft encountered a technical issue whereby the pilots received an indication of low oil pressure in one engine. Out of caution, they elected to land the aircraft at a nearby airport rather than continue the journey," Air India said.
Maintaining that the safety was the highest priority throughout, it said that "while the facilities in Magadan, a small city, may not have met the standard we would normally aim to provide, we are grateful for your tolerance and understanding that our local agents and crew did their best under the circumstances."
It may be mentioned here that after initially stating that the passengers and crew were accommodated "in hotels locally," Air India later said that the "infrastructure constraints" forced it to lodge them in make-shift accommodations. Air India in the communication also said that though it dispatched a relief flight at the earliest possible opportunity given the need to obtain insurance and flight plan approvals, clearly, the duration of delay was "long", and the "experience was not what we aspire to offer".
"As such, we will fully refund the fare for your journey and, in addition, provide you a voucher for future travel on Air India," the Tata group airline said.
(With PTI inputs)