| A passenger of the Air-India flight being hugged by relatives after her arrival in Delhi. (PTI)
New Delhi, Oct. 15: A night on the lawns of Heathrow and the next two days in a shoddy London hotel without food, baby milk or even napkins — that’s how life for 434 passengers, including several children, of the grounded Air-India jet went into a tailspin.
Over 300 of those stranded in the British capital arrived in Delhi this afternoon on the same plane — after its faulty engine was replaced — to anxious relatives who alleged the airline had kept them in the dark for over 24 hours about problems that grounded the New-York-London-Delhi-Mumbai flight. Ninety-six were flown home yesterday on a relief plane via Ahmedabad.
The Boeing-747 returned 20 minutes after takeoff from Heathrow on Thursday night, because of a bird-hit officials described to worried passengers as a “technical problem”.
“They had to spend about eight hours at the airport before accommodation arrangements were made,” said Ajit Singh, whose wife and son were on-board. “My family was given a hotel the next morning (Friday), but no food, milk or napkins were provided to passengers, including children.”
“My brother is getting married after 15 days. And now, three days have already been wasted. We are confused about how to make the arrangements within such a short time,” said Anusha Khan. The accommodation given to him was actually a “youth hostel” in London with “inadequate amenities”.
“This in unfair on the part of Air-India, they made such poor arrangements. Next time, whenever we travel, we will prefer not to fly with the airline,” said a visibly upset Anusha.
“I left New York on October 11. It took five days to reach Delhi. What can be more disgusting than this'” said Harbans Kaur, ruing the fact that part of her 15-day leave to attend a family function was lost.
“The treatment we got in London is really a lifetime experience. Nobody took proper care of passengers. We had to spend the night of October 12 on the lawns of the airport as no accommodation was provided to us,” the 50-year-old, among those who arrived this afternoon, complained.
Anger and resentment ran high among other passengers, too. The target of their anger was Air-India officials who, they claimed, did nothing to help them as they went through the “unexpected ordeal over the past two days”.
Bird-hit at Jodhpur
Passengers of an Alliance Air Boeing 737 plane had a close shave when the aircraft suffered a bird-hit after take-off from Jodhpur and made an emergency landing. All 73 passengers and six crew members aboard the Mumbai-Delhi flight via Jodhpur are safe.