AS THE last JetConnect flight prepared to take off for Mumbai from Amritsar at 10.20 pm on Wednesday, the pilot made an announcement: “This is our last flight. The operations have been temporarily suspended. We hope to fly again soon. When we do, do book with us.”
Passengers onboard the 9W 2502 flight said they were unsure whether the carrier will fly at all until it took off from Amritsar. It reached Mumbai by 12.30 am, half an hour before time, at T2 terminal where a deserted Jet arrival counter stood.
For senior citizen Amarjeet Singh, the flight was as normal as any other Jet flight. “The cabin crew served food, smiled at us like they always do,” he said. Deepika Shetty, who had gone to see the Golden Temple, said she half expected the flight to be cancelled amid confusion of suspension. Amritsar local Shareef Abdullah, who frequently used Jet to travel to Mumbai for imitation jewellery work, said the airline provided him good connectivity. “I often took this flight. Didn’t realise tonight will be the last flight until they announced in plane. Since I travel regularly, I will have to look for alternative airlines. At least, I’ll miss it,” he added.
For Sandeep Singh, confusion reigned for days whether he should cancel the Jet Amritsar-Mumbai flight and book another. “I didn’t trust the airline would not cancel yet another flight. I was checking every day to confirm whether the flight is on schedule. Now I’ll return by train,” he said. He claimed there were less than a dozen cabin crew members onboard, and at least 50 per cent seats empty.
Passengers were relieved to have made it to Mumbai. Even as the terminal bore a deserted look, several flyers from Mumbai were locked in dispute with Jet officials at the departure gate.
Madanlal Mali stood with his family of four for an hour making alternate arrangements after a Jet Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight at 2.45 am got cancelled. “There was no train, so we had booked a flight. I was supposed to catch a bus for Rajasthan from there. I will miss that too,” he said. He said Jet sent no message of cancellation, and he could not afford to wait for the money to be refunded. “I need money to book another ticket.”
Sri Lankan architects Sajeewan Hairath and Darshana were heading from Chennai to Amritsar via Mumbai for work. Stranded at the airport, they said they had no hotel booking and were checking other flight options. “Our colleagues told us that Jet was shutting down. But I didn’t expect our flight to get cancelled,” said Hairath.
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