Two days ago, my father got heart attack, my family was on its way to hospital. When I got that call from home, I jumped into action of calls to insurance, HR, hospital etc. After couple of hours of emails, phone calls to set up cashless process, I went to Expedia and found that there was very little chance I could make it to the last flight to Delhi. Earliest I could see my father would be next morning anyway. The earliest and reasonably affordable flight next morning was GoAir at 8:10AM. At INR 10K, it still was an expensive option for one way ticket from Bangalore to Delhi. I expected to get to hospital just in time – a benefit one expects to see in such emergencies when flights are booked at last moment for critical situations.
Getting up at 4 in the morning to pack and make it to airport, I had gotten everything in my control. Or at least I thought I did. I reached the departure counter at the designated hour mentioned on my boarding pass – 7:30AM. The display still wasn’t saying what I would be expecting at that moment – “Now Boarding”or something to that effect. It didn’t say “Delayed”either. All it said was – “Security Check”. I asked this person named Rajesh PR. He said flight is delayed.
“How would I know that?”
“I am telling you that.”
“There is no written information on that anywhere, on no display?”
“Some technical issue with flight, it is delayed”
In this and the conversation that followed further he didn’t say a word of sorry and wasn’t apologetic. I asked, “Can you not be at least apologetic when you convey that flight is delayed? Like use the word sorry?”
This arrogance was shocking to me. Whether it was technical issue or whatever issue, GoAir passengers had no role in it. They paid the fare and expected to get to places on time. Thus, on behalf of GoAir, how hard was it for Rajesh PR to say, “Sorry the flight is delayed”. Even Indian Railways announced, “Inconvenience is regretted.”. First the flight was delayed, next they didn’t inform customers through any expected usual means. Next this arrogance?
I didn’t want to spend a minute more there. I left and implanted myself somewhere to shoot off mails to colleagues that informing that I would be off to Delhi for few days due to this emergency. I was under the impression that there would some announcement for the new departure time, or some legitimate communication. After a while when I didn’t hear any such thing, I was concerned and approached the departure gate again. This time that Rajesh PR was absent some other dude told me that the flight left five minutes ago from a different boarding gate. I could not control myself now. When I showed up on time earlier, the staff was rude and announced the flight was delayed and gave no further information. An hour and a half later when I came to check what’s up with the flight, I am told that the flight left, FROM A DIFFERENT GATE ?
I can sense my anger and frustration and helplessness all coming back now when I am narrating that incident 24 hours later because the absurdness of them saying “we don’t call or SMS passengers”was killing me back then. They had issued me a boarding pass. While doing boarding, they knew one passenger was missing. They had all information about contacting me. My email, my phone number. Yet there was no way they could reach me? They gave all sorts of arguments. “How did other 149 passengers go onto flight?”, “Why were you not here at boarding gate”, “Why didn’t you keep checking display?”, “why you did not come back again to check new time?”
My father was in hospital I just had to go. All passengers at the airport were asking them to help me. It was an emergency. It was their fault to leave the passenger on the airport after issuing boarding pass, and more so, after I had reported once to the boarding gate and theirs was the delay. After many arguments the only option they gave was 8:45PM flight to Delhi. I really wished I could kill someone or myself at that moment. From morning 8 , now they wanted me to take night 8 flight. With father in critical situation in Delhi and my stressed family, every minute was counting. Everybody on the airport was requesting and yelling at them for me , to accommodate me on any other airline flight. But those insensitive and irresponsible pricks didn’t show any heart. I yelled , I begged. Nothing worked. I had no energy left. They were showing off the favor they did by putting me in that 8:45PM flight.
I finally reached home at midnight. I could not see my father that day. By god’s blessings, he survived the operation. If he and my family weren’t so lucky, GoAir’s insensitiveness and incompetency would have been squarely responsible for my regrets for the rest of my life – that I could not be with my father when he needed me most.
Mr Wadia, you who run this entire show with support of such irresponsible staff, I ask you this question – what would you do if you were in my position? IT COULD HAVE BEEN YOUR FATHER.