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Damages promise for late flight

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov. 4: Gulf Air passengers from Jeddah and Manama staged an onboard sit-in protest at Thiruvananthapuran airport, demanding compensation for a 29-hour delay, with extended stopovers at Bahrain and Muscat airports.

Passengers said the hour-long sit-in ended after the captain and crew assured adequate compensation after consulting responsible authorities.

The airline had agreed to favourably consider their demand for $200 for each day that they had to spend at the airports, the passengers claimed.

The airline authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Expatriates from Saudi Arabia often prefer flights having more than one stopover to the non-stop flights because of cheaper fares.

“Some of us had to spend more than 24 hours at the airports without proper food and rest. They include a 40-day-old infant and some senior citizens,” said Anil Aravind who boarded the flight from Bahrain.

The flight that was scheduled to take off from Jeddah at 5 pm on Wednesday was to reach here at 7.15 am the next day. However, it touched down at Trivandrum airport at 12.15 pm today.

Aravind, a software professional working at Technopark here, was on a business trip to Bahrain. He said the delay hit professionals and short-time holidaymakers the most.

The passengers, some of whom have taken leave to join their families for Id-ul-Fitr celebrations, refused to unfasten their seatbelts unless a commitment was made on compensation.

They also contacted local television channels who flashed the news and waited at the gates for them to end the protest and alight from the aircraft. There were 221 passengers on the flight that reached here from Muscat.

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