SIA and Air India – Similar Incidents, Different Handling Styles

Are AI Incidents and Resulting Costs Deliberate Exercises?

Air India can take comfort from the fact that an SIA flight bound for Singapore from London had to deal with a bigger problem than the one I wrote about on January 5 and make an emergency landing in Azerbaijzan.

While SIA was clear about the problem (a drop in cabin pressure), Air India merely attributed the delay to a technical glitch – avoiding an explanation even when passengers persistently asked for greater clarity on the issue.

Refund by SIA: SIA sent an alternative aircraft to Azerbaijan and brought the passengers to Singapore yesterday. Still, the SIA has decided to refund passengers the fare from London to Singapore. This is to compensate for the inconvenience passengers had to endure because of the emergency landing. SIA also offered an apology in its Facebook page.

Air India offered none of that! While AI flights are a lot cheaper that should be no excuse for inefficiency and poor, inaccurate communications.

Not Isolated: Yesterday, a friend in Singapore narrated an experience similar to that of mine on his flight from Chennai to Bangalore. He had flown by Air India from Singapore and with a connecting flight from Chennai to Bangalore.

The flight, on reaching Bangalore, hovered over the airport for a while and returned to Chennai because of poor visibility there. Apparently, flights from other airlines were landing in Bangalore even as the one from Air India could not.

Given that such occurrences happen often with Air India, I am tempted to think that they could be deliberate exercises, no thanks to the airline staff! The flight returns, delays and costs associated with providing accommodation to stranded passengers are certain to be significant.

Since Air India constantly faces strikes and other forms of pressure from its staff, including pilots, it may need to be probed whether the flight issues the airline faces are because of some deliberate tactics unleashed by its staff/crew!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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