Flight delays strand passengers in Dammam

The stranded passengers of Air India Express flight IX386 at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.

The stranded passengers of Air India Express flight IX386 at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.

Following the debacle of the delayed flight from Islamabad to Riyadh a short while ago, another story regarding delayed flights has emerged from neighboring India.

The Air India Express flight IX386 scheduled to depart from Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport for Mangalore on Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. was unable to take off due to a technical glitch in the aircraft forcing the passengers to stay in Dammam for two days.

Abdul Sarfraz, a passenger, told Arab News that there was no plane available even on Monday when they reached the airport at 1:30 a.m. to catch the next scheduled flight to Mangalore by Air India Express.

“When the passengers discovered that the flight which had been postponed to Monday was still not available, they became frustrated and a quarrel erupted between the Air India staff and the passengers with the latter demanding an alternative flight to reach their destination,” he said.

Sarfraz said that the Air India official had promised to arrange another flight to Mangalore at 10 p.m. on Monday night. “There were pregnant women, senior citizens and even one student who couldn’t sit for his exams on Monday owing to the delay,” he said.

Sarfraz said that they were stranded at the airport suffering from the negligence of Air India Express. “On Saturday, after the security check in and having received our boarding passes, we were informed that our flight had been delayed for an hour and a half. However, with the airline unable to solve our problem, we gathered at different gates looking for assistance,” said Sarfraz over the phone.

The passengers, especially the elderly and those with children were most affected by the delay. “There was a lot of chaos because although we were given a hotel, our luggage had been sent to the cargo, so we had no clothes to change into, especially the little children,” Emran, another passenger said, adding that many passengers were left in the lurch because the officials had failed to act on time.

He further said that an Air India agent took around 180 passengers to the airport hotel at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday where they stayed for 24 hours.

Sarfraz also told Arab News that among the passengers was a one-year-old child who had fever and was continuously crying. After a request by the passengers the child was given treatment by the airport authority doctors and is now better.

“The passengers are currently at the hotel and we have been informed that we have to vacate our rooms by 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to catch the alternative flights which they have arranged for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, an Air India official said that they had assured the passengers that they would be sent to Mangalore by an alternative flight at 10 p.m. on Monday. He also said that they had informed the passengers on Saturday that the flight would be delayed for a day because one of the wheels of the plane had broken and that the particular spare part was not available in the Middle East.

Arab News tried to contact Ravi, the person in charge for Air India at Dammam airport, but he did not respond to the call.

Arab News also called Mangalore City Airport in India and they said that the flight will arrive at 5 a.m. in Mangalore tomorrow. An Air India official on Monday morning has assured that the passengers will be sent to Mangalore by an alternative flight at 10 p.m. on Monday.


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