Consider this: you book a seat on a flight, looking forward to a comfortable air travel experience, but end up on a bumpy road trip instead. That’s what happened to 60 passengers of a SpiceJet flight from Pune to Goa; they ended up travelling to their destination in buses and cars, as their flight was grounded due to “technical problems”. The incident took place on Tuesday, when flight SG 516, scheduled to depart Lohegaon Airport at 12.30 pm, was cancelled.
Of the 150 passengers who were stranded at Pune airport, 60 were packed into Volvo buses and cars and sent to Goa by road, while others were either given refunds, or an option to travel in the next two days. Confirming the incident, Pune Airport Director Ajay Kumar said he got in touch with airline officials about alternative arrangements for the passengers. “The flight was grounded due to some reasons and then it was cancelled. The airlines gave refund to some passengers, some took the flight to Goa on a later date and others were sent by road,” said Kumar.
According to SpiceJet, not only was road transport provided to the 60 passengers for free, but their requests for refund was also being processed. A SpiceJet spokesperson said the airline had offered three options to the stranded passengers. “Almost 60 passengers had opted for a full refund and were provided road transport — AC Volvo buses and Innova cars — free-of-cost by SpiceJet. Three passengers opted to travel via Mumbai by taxi. A total of 12 passengers were provided hotel stay and the option to travel next day on SpiceJet flights, while 25 passengers were given tickets for the third day,” a SpiceJet spokesperson told The Indian Express.
The return flight, SG517, from Goa to Pune, was also cancelled. Prachir Kumar, a graphic designer based in Pune, said he was forced to travel to Mumbai and then take a cab to Pune due to the cancellation of the flight. He claimed that the airline staff was non-cooperative and when asked about the delay, kept giving vague answers for hours.
“The flight was to depart at 2 pm. We were told by airline staffers that it would be delayed by 40 minutes. However, it never took off, as the aircraft never arrived from Pune. They kept telling us to wait for half-an-hour more. Around 6 pm, it became clear that the flight had been cancelled,” said Kumar.
He added that the airline executives were not sure if the flight would take off the next day either. “I couldn’t afford to wait one more day so I took a late night flight to Mumbai and then took a cab to Pune. Now, I am waiting for the refund,” said Kumar.