As many as 125 passengers of SpiceJet flight SG524 from Pune to Ahmedabad had a “harrowing experience” at the Pune airport on Friday night after their flight, which was scheduled to depart at 8.40 pm, was delayed by seven hours. The passengers claimed that airline officials kept them on their toes by making “piecemeal” announcements throughout the night. The flight finally departed at 3.20 am.
SpiceJet officials at the Pune airport said the flight was delayed because of bad weather in Ahmedabad. A majority of passengers decided to cancel their tickets after waiting for several hours. They also took to social media to complain about the “irresponsible and unprofessional” behaviour of airline staffers.
“No SpiceJet official was available. About 125 passengers — including women, children and the elderly — were stranded and clueless. The airline provided no assistance. The announcement about the delayed flight was being made in a piecemeal manner. First, they started to tell us that the flight was going to be delayed by only half-an-hour. They kept saying this for a few hours. Later, they started saying the flight would be delayed by an hour,” said Paresh Shah, an Ahmedabad-based engineer who was visiting Pune for work.
In a media statement, SpiceJet said passengers of the flight “were given an option to opt for another flight at no extra cost”. However, Shah claimed that this was only a “half-truth”, as only the most vociferous passengers, including him, were given that option. “The offer of taking another flight was not given to all the passengers. I started posting about our ordeal on Twitter and Air Sewa app and that’s why they offered me a Go Air ticket. The passengers were not given any refreshments. Even water wasn’t offered,” said Shah.
Another passenger, Gaurav J, said he decided to cancel his trip post midnight. “After four hours of confusion and cluelessness, I decided to cancel my ticket. Many others did the same. Not only did I miss the connecting train, I had to spend a huge amount of money on a cab to return to my apartment in Pune,” said Gaurav.
A SpiceJet spokesperson said the airline “regretted the trouble caused to the passengers”. “Passengers were served refreshments and were regularly updated on the status of the flight. They were also given an option to opt for another flight at no extra cost. SpiceJet sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused to the passengers due to the delay,” said the spokesperson.