Gorakhpur-bound fliers stranded at RGIA for over 7 hours

What was supposed to be a four-hour journey on IndiGo flight 6E 886 from Bangalore to Gorakhpur, with a layover in Hyderabad, turned into a 12-hour ordeal

April 08, 2024 08:15 am | Updated 08:15 am IST - HYDERABAD

 A view of an Indigo flight. Representational photo

A view of an Indigo flight. Representational photo | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Several passengers were stranded at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) for several hours on April 6, when their flight to Gorakhpur got delayed. This extended their travel time by approximately eight hours.

What was supposed to be a four-hour journey on IndiGo flight 6E 886 from Bangalore to Gorakhpur, with a layover in Hyderabad, turned into a 12-hour ordeal.

The one-hour flight departed on time from Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport, and also reached RGIA on time at 10 a.m. However, as the layover was scheduled for just an hour, passengers remained seated on the plane while those boarding from Hyderabad joined them.

As the departure time approached, there was no announcement of take-off, and therefore, murmurs of concern began to spread among the passengers. Eventually, they were informed that the flight would be delayed until 3 p.m. due to unforeseen circumstances, according to a passenger who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The airline attributed the delay to ongoing maintenance work at Gorakhpur’s Mahayogi Gorakhnath Airport. Despite providing snacks to passengers, the airline repeatedly pushed back the revised boarding time by an hour, each time inquiries were made, frustrating those on board.

A passenger told The Hindu that he had booked a last-minute ticket for ₹35,000 as he had received news of his brother’s death early on Saturday morning, compelling him to urgently travel to Gorakhpur for the last rites.

Around 6 p.m., passengers were informed that the flight would depart within an hour, but would be diverted to Lucknow airport. Faced with uncertainty, some passengers chose not to board, while others, facing emergencies of their own, had little choice but to follow the airline’s directives.

At 7 p.m., the flight finally left RGIA and landed at Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at 9 p.m. With Gorakhpur approximately 270 km away, the airline arranged buses for all passengers who reached their destination at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

When The Hindu contacted authorities at Gorakhpur airport regarding the matter, airport director R.K. Parasher revealed that the Airfield Crash Fire Tender (ACFT) was non-functional causing disruptions in aircraft operations. As a result, both landings and take-offs were impacted. Mr. Parasher said that flight cancellations on Saturday inconvenienced approximately 1,300 passengers.

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