We were booked on AIRINDIA flight number AI 112 to leave London Heathrow on 24th September 2016 at 21:30 to reach Delhi and then to Bangalore on the next day.However, after boarding the flight and being served dinner in the flight we had the pilot make an announcement stating that, I quote " there is a missing part in the flight which needs to be brought only from India" and that we need to get off the flight and that we will be checked into a hotel .At this point we were glad that the AIR INDIA crew realized there was a technical issue and thought they were trying to solve it.But our problems started here.
1.We were loaded into a bus and taken to SOFITEL hotels and resorts at about 22:45.Now, AIR INDIA had told the SOFITEL staff to block 90 rooms for the passengers except sent around 130 odd passengers to this hotel, with no AIR INDIA representative with us.The staff at SOFITEL (Mr.GJ along with a few other members) attended to us and tried checking us in as many people as they could.He even tried getting in touch with AIR INDIA who conveniently didn't pick up calls and left us hanging without accommodation. So we were essentially 35 odd passengers stranded with nowhere to go. There were passengers over 65 years of age along with kids who had to stand in the lobby wondering what they should do as AIR INDIA refused to help us out or bother picking up calls for over 4.5 hours. At some point I lost patience and decided no one is coming and started making calls frantically and finally got through the Indian customer support who provided me with a few other local numbers to contact some authorities in London. Again after trying at least 5 different numbers incessantly, someone from the back end office picked up and told me all the passengers have been accommodated. After explaining to him about how we were 35 odd passengers stranded he said he will take some action.
2.At this point, after calling him back 3 times he said they have sent a vehicle for us and that we were gonna be accommodated in another hotel very soon.They sent a 6 passenger vehicle to pick up 35 people. So the poor driver did multiple shifts between the hotel, where we sent the older people and the kids to get a room first. We finally arrived at Hilton Hotel at 3.30 am and checked in.
3.The next day morning, we received a call promptly from AIR INDIA stating that we should vacate the room by 12 noon and that after lunch we will be sent a vehicle to take us to a hotel.We waited from 12 noon till 16.45 again for a bus that never came to pick us up.The hotel management at Hilton said they couldn't help us as AIR INDIA was not giving them any information at all( please check with the HiIlton staff). After again trying to get in touch with an AIR INDIA employee for some update for over 4.5 hours we decided to take the bus from the hotel to terminal 4. There were so many passengers who didnt have pounds to pay for the transport and were again stranded for whom we all pooled in and paid and finally got to the airport.
4.At the airport surprisingly again we were not given proper information and when we requested for our checked in bags to at least be given back to us as we had tablets and other vitally important things that we needed inside it, we were refused blatantly.No attempt was made to at least try and get us some help even though we had one passenger who fainted amidst us.
5.Finally when we gave up after being so badly treated and when our jobs were in jeopardy if we miss another day of work (as no information was given to us to at least inform our work places) we decided to book ourselves a different flight and leave the mess behind. Unfortunately we had AIR INDIA who refused to give our bags back or arrange to get our bags loaded to the Bangalore flight. AIR INDIA basically held us at ransom here not letting us leave by holding our baggage or giving us any information as to when it might get fixed.
6.Finally after everyone lost their patience and demanded the manager of AIR INDIA to come and give us an answer, we were told the wind shield had cracked and the sealant was taking time to dry. He handed out vouchers for 7.50 pounds for our refreshment (which was basically dinner that was never served) and left the premises.
What I wonder the most is that, why were we kept in the dark throughout with no information what so ever from the airline staff and why we were treated so badly. We are customers who have paid the ticket fare and very patient initially. We had kids and older people with ailments and also a passenger who had to go visit her dad who was in the hospital and surprisingly no attempt was made to put us on a different flight or at the least give us an update on the departure of our flight.
My husband had issues in his work place because of this delay and had to suffer a loss.I along with everyone had no clothes to change into or tablets to take and no pounds left, was stranded by AIR INDIA.
How do I get a a refund for my trip and a compensation for causing so much trouble and also being utterly unreasonable to us, AIR INDIA passengers.We understand that they had a technical issue and we were willing to wait for its rectification.But what was completely not called for was how we were misinformed, misguided and completely left in the dark and stranded from the airline side. We had a Canadian passenger with us who was updated by their travel agent constantly, which means AIR INDIA had the information from the beginning but knowingly withheld information from its passengers, which is completely unreasonable.
We were given a notice by the airline on 25th September at 7.30 pm along with the refreshment vouchers that " they were mindful of EC Regulations 261/2004 effective 15th February 2005 and their obligation under this act". I would like to bring to your notice that after we were given a room firstly that late in the night, we were asked to vacate our rooms at 12 noon and was not given any other accommodation like the rest of the passengers or given any transport from the Hilton hotel and we had to take buses by ourselves to reach the airport as the AIR INDIA staff refused to help us out.
They held our bags and didn't give it back to prevent us from taking other flights.
We were treated beyond badly with our flight being delayed by 30 hours and this sort of behavior from an airline is unacceptable.
How do I escalate this and get the refund as mailing to Air India is of no help and they won't give me a reply.