I was delighted to hear Praful Patel, the Civil Aviation Minister say that Air India either needs to perform or perish. Personal experience suggests it is successfully doing the latter already.
My husband and I were alone in a hotel room in Frankfurt four days before our wedding in
Both of us were students in the U.S and followed the “cheap works best” approach to flying. So, when Air
Little did we realize that our path was littered with obstacles. We weren’t supposed to be populating hotel rooms on the way there and how it all came to be is a story of betrayal by our embarrassing national bird, Air
There was a happy hum on board our flight from
A few hours and much wakefulness later the lights came on and one small but tough croissant was placed before us. The hungry and tired don’t fuss about such things and we ate our “breakfast” content with the thought that we would soon land in Frankfurt for two hours, stretch our legs and then sleep all the way to Mumbai. From there my husband would fly home to
We were asked to disembark at
Now, my husband is a business consultant, which means, he has been dodged and duped by airlines all his working life and doesn’t buy these “slight delays” or “technical snags”. So when he heard the words “engine failure” his heart started a downward descent.
But since there was nothing we could do about the vital organs of an ageing 747 we waited patiently in the lousy
Those with American passports had long been allowed to leave for a comfortable hotel while we went about the airport like IDPs. Meanwhile the smiling maharaja became the silent maharaja. There were simply no updates or announcements!
Finally, a little before midnight, rumour circulated that Air India was collecting passports to get visas because the plane of our dreams was grounded. By then my husband and I were gummy-eyed, sleepless, unfresh and angry. Parents, aunts and cousins back home were frantic. Flights to anywhere in December are packed and to
With heavy feet we reached the hotel and with heavier hearts we went to bed but not without making a plan. We decided we would sleep for just a few hours and get to the airport before all the other passengers. Everyone would be trying to get their tickets written over so we needed to be first in the queue at the AI counter.
The next morning, the restaurant downstairs was full of cheerful chatter. This unexpected German holiday was quite a nice surprise for some. But I thrust a bun with poppy seeds into my bag and off we went to the airport.
An hour after waiting at the Air India counter a German lady finally appeared. We told her our story stressing that a union was at stake. She was a stern sort and didn’t say much. But suddenly she produced two tickets on Kuwait Airways that would take us to Mumbai but with a layover in
By way of a joke she said, “I’ll try and get them out but I hope your wedding dress is not in there.” Ha. Ha. My husbands stuff was but what good is a wedding suit if it makes you miss your wedding? So we ditched our bags, hoping they would come on the Air India flight, whenever, and sprinted across the confusing Frankfurt airport to reach the Lufthansa counter to get our seats confirmed. We realized that we had under-reported our wedding story. We had to use it to full effect now. We repeated it to the young blonde at the Lufthansa counter who was lovely and sympathetic. But she had bad news. My husband was confirmed. I was not.
We took the chance and raced to the gate where passengers were boarding for
We landed in
Published on the ndtv.com website.