A nine-day trip to Kashmir ended in an unpleasantly unplanned diversion and an expensive journey back home for the Shah family of Ahmedabad.
The Shahs were among hundreds of passengers whose travel plans were upended when Go First suspended all flights until Friday.
“We were supposed to travel from Srinagar to Ahmedabad via Mumbai on Tuesday. But our flight to Mumbai was diverted to Surat,” said Haren Shah, who is a senior citizen. “After spending three hours on the plane in Surat, we landed in Mumbai and had to negotiate with the airline staff for another three hours for a refund.” It adds that Rs 1,500 has been refunded to each passenger’s account. “We finally hired a car at 2am and spent Rs 19,000 to return to Ahmedabad.
Shah, who was returning from a vacation along with his wife, said the airline staff kept making excuses about the refund. “First they said seven days and then two. Now we are exhausted and we will ask our travel agency to collect it for us,” he added.
Passengers say they had little information about diversions and cancellations from the airline.
“We came to know about the cancellation of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight only after we reached the Srinagar airport. The airline staff promised that alternative arrangements would be made in Mumbai, but there was none,” Shah’s fellow passenger Vipul Joshi complained.
The Srinagar-Mumbai flight was among three flights that were diverted after they were denied permission to land in Mumbai, Go First staff complained.
Another Delhi-Mumbai flight was diverted to Surat, while the Varanasi-Mumbai flight was diverted to Ahmedabad.
A fourth plane arriving from Dehradun landed in Mumbai after declaring a fuel emergency. Finally, the other diverted flights also returned to Mumbai later in the evening.
Mumbai International Airport Limited declined to comment. A Go First spokesperson also did not respond to Business Standard’s queries on the issue.