Earlier this week, I was in Delhi for a quick trip for a day, and I was on my way back to Mumbai yesterday. Circumstances changed and hence I wanted to be on an earlier flight than what I booked myself on (From 10 AM departure to 9 AM departure). Thank god for mileage redemptions, AI did not create a fuss and gave me a ticket on an earlier flight since they saw space there, once I arrived at the airport. However, that may have been one of the last things that their reservation system, installed by SITA, did for them.
After a coffee and some breakfast, I headed to board the flight and it all looked okay. There were only computerised boarding pass stubs had been cut out, however the checkin was being done manually. Being Air India, it did not ring a bell. I’ve seen them do this many a times when they are in a rush, and they also don’t bother with priority boarding then. It is just everyone, on the plane, NOW!
It was 0830 hours and I waited on the plane till 0900, then till 0920 to have a chat with the FA, who did not seem to know why the plane did not move yet. At 0940 she comes back to tell me that there is a crash of the Departure Control System and hence everything was being done manually.
This also seemed to add up to the story where everyone was coming on the flight in short bursts of 2 and 3 people and everyone carried a manual boarding pass. The plane was now in free seating.
The interesting byproduct of this was, a group of 6 passengers who were travelling as a family, who somehow coerced the staff to allow them to sit in the business section. There were other economy passengers who also helped them to business class seats and I think I counted at least 8 pax with Economy Class boarding passes who upgraded themselves to the business class section.
Quite made me feel at pain with having really paid a lot of miles to get there, while others just helped themselves to the business cabin for free.
Having said that, Air India of course palmed the blame on SITA, and said SITA systems were down globally
SITA check-in system is down globally. Manual check-in is being done as quickly as possible. We regret the inconvenience.
— Air India (@airindiain) November 29, 2014
Yawn! Of course not. The problem was local, and only limited to Air India in Delhi. I’m still confused on if I should feel lucky that I got into Mumbai at 12 noon, which was my original flight schedule, or should I feel burnt for having spent double miles for getting that ticket in business class, while 8 people got there for free!
Another day, another Air India mismanagement I frown upon!