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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Air India Regrets Rescheduling Of Your Flight…



If you fly Air India out of the long-standing loyalty for the national airline or out of compulsion being employed by the Government of India you must be acutely aware of the ‘Regrets’ service. The deadliest manifestation of this ‘service’ comes usually in the dead of the night when you are desperate to get at least 2/3 hours’ sleep for your early morning flight and suddenly all sleep is robbed away most inhumanely making you wonder if you are going to reach your destination the next day at all.

Once you are booked into one of the flights of Air India you cannot escape from this persistent service. For the period from one day before to minutes before the departure of the flight you will definitely get flooded with text messages on your mobile or emails announcing that ‘Air India Regrets Rescheduling of You Flight AI__ on ___  to ____ hours…’. The ‘Regrets’ content is very unpredictable with ‘regretted’ delays ranging from 20 minutes to over 5 hours. Short-term-delay ‘regrets’ get you reach the airport with some assurance, but there, to your dismay, the regrets keep on to the job of delaying your flight. Even after the ‘regrets’ finally disappear from your mobile you are still not sure when the flight would depart leading to ‘unexplained’ and ‘not regretted’ delays.

The most intriguing part of the ‘regrets’ syndrome is that Air India still regrets even if their flight is on time. The text message would say ‘Air India regrets rescheduling of your flight AI___ on__ to ___ hours. Pls ignore if revised timing is same as in your ticket.’ If you are a practical mix of intelligence and experience you would perhaps anticipate delays once you get the message and it happens in most cases. However, you cannot wait and have to go to the airport on time for whatever ‘regrets’ are to follow later for whatever ‘operational reasons’.

The ‘Regrets’ syndrome of Air India is a direct outcome of the negative mindset about the airlines both within and outside. The cash-starved and struggling airline hardly generates confidence or trust in its employees or for the Government of India or for the air travelers. Other airlines announce proudly that their flights are dot on time and in any case they would never bother the travelers with text messages or emails if their flights are departing on time.

It really is perplexing why Air India cannot talk positive for at least the positive aspects. It would not cost them to generate a different message announcing right-time flights apart from the normal ‘regrets’ message for delays. Furthermore, there have been some positive developments for the airline since the forgettable days of 2011-12 when its employees were observing annual strike fests and their schedules were topsy-turvy. Since then their website has improved a lot making online booking very easy and convenient. Their executives on the ticket counters have become more professional and friendlier. Air-hostesses often criticized for being overage are now conducting things quite well. Air India also showed practical sense of saving money by serving only tea-biscuits on flights of less than two hours duration instead of the fried rice dishes served in even less than one hour flights earlier. Therefore, it is time indeed for feeling positive when it is positive and get on serving and earning better. If people call you a circus then only you are helping them to form such opinions.

Air India, please stop regretting the good things. Regret only when it is really regrettable. Most practical advice at the moment would be to minimize delays absolutely.
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