Monday, April 19, 2010

My first IA Experience!

It was again one of those painful trips I had to take in order to satisfy the team needs and recruit more people into the forest! The office admin could not arrange for decent flights and we landed up with "Air India". I have personally never travelled in an Air India flight, I have of course heard a lot of people literally swearing on the service they provide but have never taken them seriously. I always thought, what can really go wrong in an airline? Even if it is government owned? It still needs customers and has to work for the customers in order to be in business right?? WRONG!
They don't give a damn, they have no "customer" obsession nor do they care about who fly with them and who don’t - they always get left over crowd and they are happy with that. We reached the airport 1.5 hours ahead of departure and stood in a long never-ending queue to check-in. We as a group gave 9 tickets to the lady at the counter. She kept staring at the screen for more than 10 mins. No response. She looked around went to the next door aunty, no expression on her face, when we asked what was going on. No response. She took all our tickets and walked off, don’t know where. After 10 mins she appeared and we still didn’t know what was going on and were losing patience. We had to board the flight by 4:00 and until 3:45 there was no sign of boarding passes! The lady then walks to another uncle at the counter and he tried to print the boarding pass. We were lucky to have gotten 1 out of 9 boarding pass and were relieved that we are finally checking-in. Guess what!? The printer got stuck!! We were moving from one counter to the other until uncle found a working printer. After he found, he issued boarding passes for everybody else in the queue except us!
This was getting highly irritating and we started bugging uncle and all he did was Nod and say "1 min" - he did that at least 10 times...We finally followed the lady to the back office and she said, 1 min. it was 4:10 (15 mins before take-off) and we were still standing there waiting to check in. She finally came out and handed over the tickets to the same lost uncle and disappeared. Uncle took print outs of our boarding passes at 4:20 and we rushed for security check! While we were standing in the queue the IA lady announced "This is the last call for all the passengers boarding the Bangalore flight on Indian Airlines". We broke the line and ran to the gates, the lady was pissed off and didn’t even smile (like we care, do hell with your smile).
We reached the flight to find out that my seat was already allocated to somebody else and the lady was kind enough to ask me to sit in Business class (somebody was finally kind I thought!). I was finally happy that we got compensated for the wait and got business class seats. I guess I got too carried away, the air hostess were no better. One lady - Who looked half pregnant, another one who looked deprived of food and the other who looked as if she hated being there! Totally 3 ladies to serve us "first class" and make us feel that we are the bad boys stealing away their life from them! There was no Smile on their face, no please in their vocabulary - you would simply wish they didn’t exist.
So much for a 45 mins flight to Bangalore - I would have rather taken the train!
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