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Air India: blacklisted June 26, 2008

Posted by dorigo in news, personal, travel.
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I flew Air India only once – Frankfurt to Chicago, on August 29th 2005. It was a horrible flight: the plane literally stunk, the service was ridiculous, and I felt like we were being treated like cattle. But one single experience usually is not enough to place an airline on my very personal black list, so I dropped the issue for lack of further data.

Today, though, the data -although not first hand- has arrived. An important input, which I read on today’s online version of the italian newspaper La Repubblica. It looks like the pilots of a overnight flight from Dubai to Mumbai a few days ago fell asleep after setting up the autopilot, and the plane surpassed Mumbai, whose control tower initially suspected a hijacking but, upon receiving silence in return of their attempts at communicating with the plane, finally sent a high-pitch tone in the cabin, waking up the pilots.

The airline denies the episode, which was originally disclosed by the Times of India, and ascribes the rerouting of the plane to “communication problems”. The fact is that Air India is used to force very tough shifts to their on board personnel, and this is bound to compromise the security of flights.

So, today Air India is joining Alitalia, KLM, Cubana, and Mexicana (and I might be forgetting a couple -I do not have my records with me here). Sad news, because Air India is part of the Star Alliance, which is the consortium created by Lufthansa, the company I most often use.

Comments

1. nc - June 28, 2008

Those pilots should have set an alarm clock after setting the autopilot and receiving the ETA. Then nobody would have known.๐Ÿ˜‰

2. dorigo - June 28, 2008

Maybe that’s what they routinely do nc. Probably the alarm did not sound, or they messed up with the time zone๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers,
T.

3. oMan - July 12, 2008

I recommend you the Oman Air for your next trip to India. Excellent services.

4. dorigo - July 12, 2008

I never flew to India yet, but I will keep that in mind, thanks.
T.

5. Dean Anatine - November 28, 2008

I was once on an Air India flight from Delhi to London (1970’s) and was shocked to see a Punjabi “lady” holding her young child in a suatting position in the aisle and saying “shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo” and the child finally urinated – needless to say I have never flown Air India again. Looking back, I can’t help but have a quiet chuckle. Ah, if life was that simple today – when you gotta go – you gotta go.

6. dorigo - November 28, 2008

Hi Dean,

what you describe is a human behavior… I think you cannot really blame Air India for that. Of course, different peoples have different habits and one is usually more at ease with his own.

Cheers,
T.

7. mumbaikar - January 2, 2009

Did you know that Air India started as Tata Airlines in 1932? It was started by JRD Tata with his solo flight from Karachi to Bombay to carry mail.

So, Air India has the same pedigree as the Taj Hotel. Sigh! sorry to see that nationalization has such a negative effect.

Air India now has 777-200LR and will be getting 787 next year. Perhaps you would give the airline another look then.

8. dorigo - January 2, 2009

Hi,

well, thank you for the news. Air India is part of the Star Alliance, of which I am a frequent traveler (was a senator till 2008 for 8 years). So as much as I say I have blacklisted it, I might happen to be found in one AI flight anyways in the future…

Cheers,
T.

9. GK - June 17, 2009

AIR INDIA…. what can you say about them? All these years I have been travelling Air India out of Patriotism but their customer service is very bad and I have decided not to travel in Air India again.

They give you the number for Chicago office so that you can get your ticket confirmed, but unfortunately nobody picks up the phone.

Another experience is that after confirming my ticket… I was asked to call back in a day or two to get the US segment confirmed since it was on wait list. Surprise!!! when I call back after a day… they say that my ticket is cancelled!!! Very scary situation…

Since nobody is picking up the phone in Chicago office, I am told that I have to go personally to endorse my ticket. Travel for 8 hours to get the ticket confirmed. Is’nt that ridiculous.

If you want to fly Air India… travel at your own risk… Highly discourage flying the same.


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