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Air India

British Airways Passengers Stranded in Mumbai Told to Wait 8 Days & Offered No Assistance

British Airways Passengers Stranded in Mumbai Told to Wait 8 Days & Offered No Assistance
Joe Cortez

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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]

View Comments (9)

9 Comments

  1. duckied

    January 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    How was it that BA left these passengers stranded?? I would say that as Air India had the delayed flight the responsibility rests with them! Unless that is the passengers ‘stranded’ were travelling on one through ticket which I doubt?

    So let me guess – BA should have delayed the BOM-LHR flight and it’s 200+ passengers, which would have resulted in many more missing THEIR connections onwards from LHR?

    This is just typical of BAshing – a favourite british pass time.

  2. UncleDude

    January 6, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    So 38 People expect a connecting fight to wait for them because their incoming flight on another airline is delayed. All Airlines say the same old story ” Your Flight Will Wait” this must be the third biggest untruth after. Darling I’m Working late and. Your Check/Cheques in the Post.

    What about the 300 plus people already on board are they supposed to sit there and wait and likely miss their own onward connections at London.

    Its the Peak Travel time of the year folks..if connecting allow 6 hours at least or accept the consequences.

  3. pinks

    January 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence with BA flights from India.

  4. vishalgupta22

    January 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Can anyone confirm if the passengers were actually connecting (single PNR) or had separate tickets.

    If they were on separate ticket, I would applaud BA for accommodating them. The customers are to blame themselves in that case.

    If they were on single PNR, then they must be able to get a compensation from AI.

  5. jone0613

    January 6, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    BA did exactly what all airlines attempt to do… leave on schedule. Air India is 100% at fault here for getting passengers to BOM 40 min late. Congrats to BA for stepping in and offering assistance when Air India clearly should have.

  6. ffI

    January 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Air India
    Air India
    Air India
    No one else is to blame but the passengers.
    If I was BA, I would have left them there for 8 days more

    Why on earth would you have a tight connection in India on your way home?

    I always go as far out as I can and spend the last 1-2 days sightseeing in the city of departure
    Has served me well in Australia, NZ, China, Japan (Tokyo after tsunami) Peru and India

  7. raehl311

    January 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    The passengers sealed their own fate when they booked an international connection that could be thwarted by a mere 40 minute delay.

  8. wolf72

    January 7, 2015 at 12:38 am

    I would say the passengers were at fault. Why select connecting flight departure times so close together in the first place??

    And then not wanting to spend their own money for hotel rooms and opting to sleep on the floor.

    Who’s fault is that!?

  9. ecspike

    January 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    It depends on the ticket they had. If it was a single PNR and the booking engine didn’t flag it as an invalid connection, then Air India and BA are at fault.

    If separate tickets or forced on the phone by an agent, then it’s the passengers that are wrong.

    However, common sense is to never make a domestic to international layover less than an hour. I have proactively refused to book flights with such a tight connection.

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