Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela
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1. Air Deccan - cheap Airline with indifferent service
2. Beware of IndiaTimes Shoppin
3. The worst experience from Indiatimes store
4. The inhospitable staff of Air Deccan

Air Deccan - cheap Airline with indifferent service

     The purpose of writing this mail is to let you know what could happen to you in case you choose to travel through Air Deccan. What a cheap ticket could actually cost you apart from financial loss: mental and physical harassment, wastage of your valuable time, not turning up on your job on time which means loss of your credibility and salary. Probably, we all want to have cheap air travel, but not at this cost. I want to share one of my Air Travel Experience with all of you so that you could take benefit from what I experienced. (I am not sure whether similar cases happened with other air lines or not).

     I had booked two tickets (plus one infant ticket) in an Air Deccan flight from Delhi to Hyderabad scheduled to take off at 7 PM on 8th November, 2005. I reached the domestic airport, New Delhi at around 5:45 PM with my wife and six months old kid. My mother and my aunt had also come to see off us. 

     When I went to the Air Deccan counter to get my ticket stamped, big horrible news was waiting to my surprise. I was told that my flight had already taken off at 3:50 PM, I was a 'No Show' passenger and I don't have any option but to go back. On asking why I was not informed about the change in schedule, I was prompted that an SMS was sent about the same on my cell number. Though I was in a roaming area, I just wondered that in spite of receiving so many calls and SMS, why I didn't get that much wanted SMS. When I started making nuisances at the counter, they told me to come inside and talk about the same.

     Inside I saw many more persons piled up asking the Air Deccan authorities the same question that I was waiting an answer for!! Around 40-45 people were gathered there who were waiting to board the flight to Hyderabad that had already left. Many of us were from outside of Delhi and had no acquaintances in the city. After some time, their duty manager, Ashwini Dutta, came and told us that some of the flight timings have been changed in accordance with the winter schedule. And they had informed us via sending an SMS. If you didn't get the SMS, it's not our fault. He simply refused to make any alternate arrangements for boarding the passengers to any other available Air Deccan flight and also said that we don't have any contact with any other airlines. On asking him for the solution again & again, finally he offered us two options:

     Either take the full refund for what you have paid for the flight booking 
Or get the next availability on 12th or 13th of Nov. (before that all flights were full) 

     None of us was ready to accept any of the solutions offered by him. "Both options are useless." "What will we do with the refund amount?" "We need to reach Hyd anyhow asap." "I have to join office tomorrow else I might loose my job" "I have come from Ludhiana, where would I go now?" "I can't wait until 12th or 13th and where would I stay for 4-5 days?" were some of the reactions of the passengers who were being cheated by Air Deccan. 

    Many of us thought that calling up media could put some pressure on the authorities and they might turn up for any alternate solution. Somebody called up NDTV then. As soon as NDTV team turned up at the venue, Air Deccan guys closed their counter and ran away from there!! No body from their side was available to comment on the situation or to propose the solutions that they suggested earlier to us. Even the duty manager, Ashwini Dutta tried to flew away from media and when people saw him and tried to catch him, he again disappeared somewhere in the air port premises. 
The authorities had no answers to the following questions:

     Why the passengers weren't called on phone and informed about the change in the schedule. Would it have been a high cost option than SMS to the airlines? 

     If the booking and cancellation information is sent via the email, why this major change was not communicated by email? 

     Did they make sure that all SMS had been successfully sent by getting the SMS delivered notifications? 

     In case of such event, would the authorities be providing accommodation to the non-local passengers until they find any alternate way out? 
Why they avoided the media if they were not guilty. 
Why they were ready to refund the whole amount if they had informed the passengers about the schedule change? 

     They say the schedule change had been effective from 31st October, and then they might be experiencing the same 'no show' passengers since last couple of days (Ashwini Dutta accepted they have faced the same problem in last few days also). Then why didn't they bother to inform future passengers and tried to get confirmed if all the passengers have been well informed. 

     Even some people were saying that the passengers, who got the cheap tickets, were left uninformed and their tickets have been sold in black. 
Somehow I managed to make some hasty arrangements and had to take an instant booking of next day's Sampark Kranti that did cost me around Rs 4400 for two tickets in Third AC while in regular booking I could have got those for around Rs 2500. 

  Deepak Gupta, 203, Block III, S R Estates, Miyapur, Hyderabad.

Beware of IndiaTimes Shopping 

     I had booked two orders (nos 452270 and 452276) for three music
cassettes in on 6th of November. After 18 days of booking
the order and making payment I am yet to hear anything from the
supplier. The site shows "order under process" and proudly announces "we
usually deliver in five days". Four of my feedback messages have met
with only automated, computer-generated non-specific acknowledgements. I do not know what happened to my order. I want to caution everybody about this kind of costomer unfriendly dealing of

                    Dr Pallab Ray, Additional Professor, dept of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh-160012.

The worst experience from Indiatimes store 

This is about the worst online shopping experience I had from Indiatimes. Please put this up in your forum so that it can serve as a warning for those people like me who want to shop in Indiatimes because of its big name, 

I placed on order almost three months back in November for 4 books and a CD. While I received the books from them, I never received the CD. I called them after three weeks on STD since they have only one number, which is a Delhi number. They told me that they would be delivering the CD in a week. Well, weeks went by, and I am yet to receive the CD. The only way, I can contact them is through a lousy feedback form on their site. I filled this form almost 10 times in the past three months, and almost all the times I got an automated response and a response that someone is looking into the problem. But nothing happened. 

Last week, I mailed them another complaint through their website, and the response was that I had selected a wrong song, so they want me to change the song. And this after three months of placing the order. Repeated requests that I want my money credited because it's already too late for them to deliver the CD (and I sincerely doubt whether they will deliver it now) have gone into deaf ears. No response, no CD, and my money is sitting happy with them for three months.  The order number is 455100 placed on 26, Nov 2005. 

Well, let my experience serve as a warning to other people who get tempted by the "Free Delivery" and "We deliver in 5 days" claim. Nothing could be far from truth. If you get it, you get it in 5 days, but getting your order is the tricky part, as my experience shows. It's been really harrowing experience, trying to contact them and getting no response. 

Ms. Sudha Seetharaman, No. 3, 2nd Main Road, 
Purushothama Nagar, Chromepet, Chennai - 600044.

The inhospitable staff of Air Deccan

My name is Sudha Jacob and for the past several years I have been flying with different carriers all over the world. In my career, I had the privilege of being an IT consultant for GulfAir, American Airlines etc.
I had the great opportunity of visiting India between Dec-19-2005 and January 12-2006. 

     For our internal visits in India, we had the pleasure of using Air Deccan. Initially we were planning to book all our tickets using Indian Airlines. However, after seeing the Air Deccan managing director's message, its low fares and schedules, we booked some of our tickets thru Air Deccan. I do not have the PNR number for all our flights. However, I will narrate our experience. 

     When ever we fly international flights using multiple carriers, a 2 hour window of transit time is considered to be safe.  7 of us had booked for AirDeccan, Bangalore - Chennai 11:05 (That is my memory) flight on 4th January 2006.  Since we were on vacation, we were in the best of moods and were waiting after security check to board the plane. Just 15 minutes before boarding the plane, the flight was announced to have been delayed for 3 hours. I find it unbelievable that Air Deccan knew of this delay only 15 minutes before boarding the flight. Considering this to be normal teething problems of a relatively new carrier, we took this blow in our first Air Deccan trip jovially. 

     We traveled from Chennai to Hyderabad on 5th January with similar delays, but were willing to accept the delays due to operational problems. However what blew the whole thing was my flight from Hyderabad to Cochin via Bangalore on 9th January. This leg of my journey was with my 2 daughters and 76 year old mother.

Ticket details are given below.
First Leg PNR Number : DA02616069 Flight No: DN-208 From: HYD to BLR ON Monday - 09-Jan-2006 Dep time: 11:55 Arrival Time: 13:25. Total value of the ticket = Rs.9900.
Second Leg PNR Number : DA02616076 Flight No: DN-209 From: BLR to COK ON Monday - 09-Jan-2006 Dep time: 14:45 Arrival Time: 16:00. Total value of the ticket = Rs.10400.

     We had to leave COK to Bahrain on 12th January-2006. Since our flight from Hyderabad was delayed by 3 hours and 30 minutes, we missed our BLR- COK flight. I was stranded in Bangalore with my 2 daughters and mother on 10th January. We explained the situation to Air Deccan staff and asked to reschedule the tickets for the next BLR - COK flight, knowing pretty well that 24 hours of my final valuable hours of vacation will have to be in a hotel room in Bangalore. 

     I must say that the operations staff were very rude and told us that there was nothing strange in Air deccan flights being delayed and that they had absolutely no responsibility in the whole issue. To add to the situation, he also added that it was really foolish on our part to book a connection with 1 hour and 20 minutes in between, since it was common knowledge that Air Deccan flew consistently late. At this point I was not sure whether I was watching a comedy movie. Since I had to reach Cochin somehow, I asked for a reasonable compensation. Then came the brilliant idea from the manager - 2 tickets for the next day's flight. I explained to him that since I was accompanied by my aging mother and 2 daughters, I had little or no use with the 2 tickets. Then his answer was "Consider this as a favour from me. Take it or forget your tickets. There is absolutely no way that you are going to get a refund". There was such a threatening note in his voice and I have to assure you that my voice was not even raised. The whole event looked like the manager was not concerned about any inconveniences caused to the customer. He was just bothered about the money that he would have to refund. 

     What a pitiful situation for an airline on its baby feet. I told him that this was giving a very bad experience for me and that it would be very difficult for me and that it would be very difficult for me to make any future reservations on Air Deccan.  He took the opportunity to bang his last nail   'Madam!  Honestly I don't care whether you travel by Air Deccan or not!!'.

     A customer may accept a delayed flight but a rude and snobbish staff can practically ruin the Airline customer relationship for ever!!!

       Ms. Sudha Jacob, 1121, S.Deverell Ct., Palatinc, IL-60067. USA

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