No Apologies


I was on a flight to Mumbai from a nearby city on Friday last week.

The flight from Mumbai arrived more than an hour late, and this same plane was supposed to ferry us back to Mumbai. It was a total of over 75 minutes wait before the flight took off for Mumbai.

What was a bit annoying to note is that even Indian Airlines (“Indian”) flight and other private airlines’ flights were taking off almost on time, but Jet Airways again failed its passengers. I had written previously about the flight delays which were not being proactively managed by Jet Airways, out of Mumbai. But over the past couple of months, there was huge improvement – well, that improvement happened because the DGCA ordered all airlines to maintain ontime performance, by forcing the check-in counters to close 45 minutes before departure. While other airlines were already doing that for several months successfully, Jet Airways could not or would not adhere to that guideline. It always cleared even passengers arriving at the check-in counters just 15 minutes before departures. It always made exceptions for its most valued passengers, I guess ! But, no longer.

Everyone travelling on Jet Airways regularly could see that the airline was trying consciously to improve. But just one incident is enough to break the trust slowly starting to build up. Making passengers wait in an airport despite all the explanations given is not acceptable, as business schedules and personal engagements get seriously affected, and there has been no compensation for flight delays till now.

Well, the unacceptable delay happened for me on Friday evening, and it rankled. When I got into the flight, I expected a sincere apology by the Captain or by the Flight Crew. That did not happen. I waited and then after the flight was airborne for some 20 minutes the Captain came over the speaker, and intimated about the weather, altitude, situation at Mumbai Airport, etc., before apologizing for the delay in taking off, putting the blame on departure delays at Mumbai Airport. Why cannot people simply apologize without excuses ?

Jet Airways should simply state that they are deeply sorry about the late arrival of their flight from Mumbai, but they made all the attempts to be on time but failed. They should also state that they ensured a quicker departure from this airport than usual, giving due consideration to the sufferings of the waiting passengers. They should also give an assurance on behalf of their rather elusive management, that in future such delays will be “consciously avoided”.

I don’t see such an apology happening anytime soon. In Kingfisher Flights which are delayed, the Captain addresses the passengers as soon as the flight is airborne, or sometimes even before that, apologizing for the delay and ofcourse putting the blame on the Air Traffic Control, but atleast the apology sounds like an apology.

High time for Jet Airways to learn and adopt from other competitors, and realise that their air dominance may not last for ever in India. It is just a question of time and a series of such mis-steps. Management has to realize this quickly, rather very very quickly.

Happy and Safe Flying,

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
5th Sep 2010
Mumbai

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