December 9, 2023

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Furious desis share travel horrors

AircraftFrom listening to loud lullabies to families playing hide and seek, passengers share their travel travails

There are some incidents in life that you can never be prepared for; the story about a woman experiencing the abominable act of a co-passenger urinating on her seat on an Air India flight is enough to scar anyone for life.

The fact that the man got to leave the flight without facing any action has left many frequent Air India passengers disgusted. For many desis who frequent the sector this came as the last straw to prove that the airline needs to pull their act together.

Nand Gorur, a frequent traveler on the sector said, “Air India is falling into new lows every day. This can be as worse as it gets. How can the crew be so irresponsible?”

Read: Air India gets regulator notice over urination incident (January 5, 2023)

Many who frequently travel the route are not amused and have their own horror stories to share. Rosie M, who travels on the same route at least twice every year recalled her own funny experience on the flight.

She told the American Bazaar from her Illinois home, “Back in 2017, when I was travelling from Chicago to Delhi, there was a big family with many kids.

“Two women, who seemed like relatives, when they couldn’t put their kids to sleep, stretched out a blanket, put a toddler on it and began swinging the kid while singing loudly to lull him to sleep.

“All this on the aisle, obstructing the other passengers’ way to the washroom. This was in economy class. The crew just acted as if nothing happened and carried on. It was rather amusing to see this.”

The incident became a hot topic of discussion across forums and expat websites. On Facebook group Indian Expats in USA a user, Sandip Roy wrote, “A detailed investigation must be done. If true, the strictest possible punishment including jail (must be administered) to the person. The story is very weird though. We don’t know what exactly happened.”

Another frequent flier shared a similar story which was funny, but also discomforting to the other passengers. Abita Padma says, “When I traveled in December in business class. A family with a little girl was traveling. The girl made friends with another kid on the flight. The two adorable kids ran around and played as if it was their home or playground, making a lot of noise.

Read: Air India launches first ever non-stop Mumbai- San Francisco flight (December 16, 2022)

“They then decided to play hide and seek and hid under the seats, behind the curtains. Now the dad became the ‘seeker,’ yelling loudly, ‘Ready or not, here I come,’ and walking all over the area. They then played cards in the aisles. The crew completely let them do their own thing. One crew member said, ‘arey, kya dosti,’ (Oh what friendship).

“When others had to use the restroom, they had to wait or jump over. On one hand it was cute. On the other hand, it is absolutely not okay to disturb others’ sleep. The Air India crew is very non-confrontational. They adjust, they want others to adjust.”

Back in 2019, the American Bazaar ran a news report about a passenger who found a fly in her food while traveling on an Air India flight.

Many shared that the Air India crew has been known to ignore passenger requests. Another Air India passenger, Sharmistha Das shared, “When I was coming from Delhi to JFK, it was me and an elderly lady in a three-seater as one seat was not occupied.

“For the entire 14-hour journey, the lady tried to sleep as if on a flatbed, squeezing me. I made a couple of requests to crew members to either give me a different seat or talk to my co-passenger but they simply didn’t care. Horrible.”

Read: ‘Unprofessional’: Aviation regulator slams Air India for urination incident (January 5, 2023)

A similar incident also happened in 2018 on Air India, on the same sector, leaving people even more enraged. Kaushik Dasbiswas commented on an FB group, Indian Expats in USA, “How often do people pee on other passengers in an Air India business class cabin!”

Another Air India passenger Naveen Shah shared with the American Bazaar, “Looks like Air India and poor service go hand in hand. During my last flight from Delhi to O’Hare, the inflight entertainment on my seat did not work for the entire 14 hours. The crew, when asked, simply expressed their helplessness. Interestingly none of them even tried to fix the problem.”