Saturday, July 7, 2007

Quite a Destination!

Flight Delayed…. Flight Cancelled…..and you thought that’s too much. But wait, there’s more. What if you are disembarked at an altogether different destination you booked your tickets for and are left stranded? Quite unthinkable, right! Believe me, such goof-off does happen. Read on.

Goof off by Pawan Hans Costs passengers heavily

NAHARLAGUN, July 04: An elderly couple today expressed their strong resentment at the unprofessional and irresponsible attitude of Pawan Hans after they were flown to Naharlagun [Arunachal Pradesh] instead of Dibrugarh [Assam].

Ruksin-based Siang Tea Industries general manager A. Larken was not only issued tickets Nos. 12088 and 12140 (for his wife) costing Rs. 1,000 each for Pasighat to Dibrugarh today but was confirmed about the flight schedule early in the morning and asked to be on time to board the chopper.

Larken, scheduled to preside over an important meeting at Dibrugarh today, boarded Pawan Hans around 11 am along with his wife, but both were shocked to disembark here around 12.15 pm. As the chopper did not cross the mighty Brahmaputra River, Larken enquired and was told Naharlagun was the destination.

When asked, the operational staff here told him that Dibrugarh has not been in the flight schedule since yesterday and no possibility for tomorrow as the Jagson chopper was under maintenance.

Surprisingly neither the staff issuing the tickets at Pasighat knew about the schedule nor the pilots verified the passengers’ list which they should have done, wondered Larken, adding such goof offs and lapses on one pretext or the other have been experienced more often that not by him on the same route, he told this reporter at the helipad here.

“I have to pay for the hotel charges booked in advance at Dibrugarh for none of my fault besides missing the meeting despite commitment. Moreover, if I miss the Bangalore flight tomorrow it would cost me another Rs. 27,000. Who would compensate the losses,” he questioned?

Helplessly gazing at the distant sky from the helipad lounge after learning that there was no chance of chopper service either today or tomorrow, Mrs. Larken wondered: ‘Are not we in 21st century?’

Such complaints have been received too from senior government officers in the past. The complaints of cancellation of advance booking by passengers to accommodate VVIP’s are common.

Subsidized by the central government, Pawan Hans being the only mode of air communication in this land-locked state, its services demand professionalism, according to observers here.

-The Arunachal Times

I don’t know if Mr. A. Larken was compensated for his loss or not, but this incident has left me wondering though. What a professionalism on the part of Pawan Hans Chopper Service operators? Shouldn’t they imbibe some professionalism in operating this service? If not, shouldn’t they stick to what they are best at doing i.e., using these chartered Choppers from Pawan Hans Ltd. to ferry around VVIP’s alone? In that way, passenger wouldn’t be subjected to the woes of last minute ticket cancellation to accommodate the VVIP’s and of course, the changed destination. And people would just rely on surface transportation.

Next time you consider boarding Pawan Hans, think twice and cross check the flight schedule and destination, of course, before you board the Chopper, lest you end up in altogether different destination.;-)


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  • raka

    i heard the pilots for pawan hans are basically rejects from the IAF/Army helicopter squadrons--i.e. those selected initially but later found to be not upto the mark 4 various reasons; since they cannot make them just disappear they conveniently dumped it on pawan hans it is said.
    and pawan hans is happy to get such cheap pilots at low price tags--so be careful of flying in pawan hans:
    rejected pilots-->cheap behaviour and risky flight!

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