British Airways has rebooked passengers who missed their connection in Mumbai and were initially told they would have to wait eight days to return to London, sparking outrage and blowback.
The final few passengers who were displaced at Mumbai International Airport (BOM) on Saturday are expected to land at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) on Tuesday. British Airways initially estimated it would take eight days to get the 38 passengers home.
BBC reports bedlam broke out at BOM when the delayed passengers missed a connecting flight to LHR after they’d been told the flight would wait for them. According to the Times of India, the tense situation began when the group’s Air India flight was delayed leaving Goa Dabolim Airport (GOI) by 40 minutes on Sunday, jeopardizing their connection. Although Air India told the passengers British Airways would hold the LHR flight, the aircraft departed without them.
Sean Read, one of the passengers stranded at BOM, told BBC that a shouting match quickly escalated between British Airways and Air India staff. Passengers were offered no assistance, according to Read, who claims they were told by staff that the next flight they could take was eight days away.
“Staff left us to sleep on the airport floor. There were kids, people in wheelchairs, and we were offered no food or hotels,” Read told BBC. “[We] were left in an empty airport.”
While neither Air India nor British Airways offered an apology, a representative for the U.K. flag carrier told BBC that the airline was working to assist affected flyers. By Monday afternoon, all but 12 of the 38 passengers had been rebooked and the airline had offered hotel accommodations to remaining passengers.
“Our staff in Mumbai worked hard to assist customers who missed their connection,” the unidentified British Airways representative told BBC. “Our flights from Mumbai are incredibly busy at this time of year, and in order to get customers on their way as quickly as possible we booked those affected on to flights operated by both British Airways and other airlines.”
Air India has yet to comment on the incident.
[Photo: Sean Read via BBC]