April 3, 2006

Air Dhakkan - The epitome of uncertainity

My love affair with 'Air Dhakkan' continues. This time I was asked to pay up 700 quid for excess baggage. But thats not the reason I'm pissed. People with more baggage than me have happily cleared the check-in. Ok that was tolerable. I was already at bursting point, but still it was ok. Im mighty pissed because everytime I book my tickets on Dhakkan I am subjected to uncertainty, risk, ambuguity and irresponsibility. Not only that I make long distance calls to convince near and dear ones that all is ok. Also I spend a fortune at the airport quietening my stomach. Then I will land at my destination at some godforsaken hour and have to shell out 25% extra as night charges. All in all I spend a lot more. So much for low cost fares. Even the airhostess' are rude. The seats are crappy. (I can take normal seats but I surely dont expect a torn seat with the sponge peeping out). It seems I am not alone. The best part is that none of the groundstaff have a clue about what is happening. I talked to the control room behind the check in at Delhi airport and he told me my flight was on time inspite of me getting a message the previous day that I was delayed by an hour and half. Better still the check in people contradicted what the control room said!

But these no-gooders still get customers! And how? Apparently they have the lowest fares. Their fares are marginally lower than all other carriers. Hence the psychology of the consumers when buying tickets is to go for Dhakkan vis-a-vis other airlines. At that moment they do not have an idea of the other atrocities that Dhakkan will inflict on them. It will be just a matter of timebefore Dhakkan will be unable to attract customers anymore.

Another thing that gets my goat is that Air Dhakkan is always delayed. If not the weather, its 'operational problems'. It always has to hover around airports for 15-20 minutes per flight until its lands. Dunno what Gopi and his team is upto. However, there is a magazine called 'Simplifly' in every seatpouch which speaks of the wonderful service levels of the airline and a few pages have to be extolling the leadership and managerial skills of the CEO. If he is what he claims to be he better do something quick. There are also glowing tributes from customers. (Wonder who these people are?)

And then of course, is the fact that the airline has been reduced to a luxury bus. As soon as the plane lands and while its still taxiing to its terminal, people get up and open the overhead hatches to get their cabin baggage(??!!) WTF! Reminds me our Mumbai locals where we get up from our seats one station ahead to avoid beeing unable to alight! Last time I flew on 1st Jan and the plane was smelling of puke. God knows where this airline is headed!!!


Anonymous said...

Well you have got your facts wrong. I am referring to an old blog of yours. IT companies in India pay something like 64k pretax to its employess 2 year work ex add 50k for each year. And again it includes bonus, 70% bonus is paid monthly. Worst case scenario, low bonus the in hand slary is 55k. But then is noth there for run of the mill companies. Again ITC and HLL give you 50k pretax. Also dear you got to plan taxes.

Another thing, when IIM's even MDI posts average slary it doesnt account for International salaries. You talk about PPP, just check the average salary of US, of US B-schools. Get facts right.

I actually got to your blog by mistake, but then get facts and then argue, please. What you have said in that is perceptyion nopthing new. In future try to change perspectives, then could be you actually find that you are worth what you get.

Sorry, but am a sadist.

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's a li'l too long for a "comment"..but this has to come here. Below is the mail from ony of my batchmates who travelled(well...almost) from Kolkata to Port Blair by Air Dhakkan a few days back:

"Date 22nd March, 2006
Place: Kolkata

Time 0400 hrs: We (yrs truly n Jeet) leave the congested bylanes of Kolkata and head towards the airport to catch our flight (No. DN-697, Air
Deccan) scheduled at 0620hrs to Port Blair.
We are all cock-a-hoop about our DOCC project at Bay Islands the sleep in the eyes not withstanding.

Time 0445hrs: The 1st let down: the flight is actually scheduled at 0710hrs no its not late its scheduled at that time …Air Deccan forgot to update the time on ticket!… Well..we didn’t mind that much ..’twas expected afterall it’s a low cost airline..huh!!

Time 0700 hrs: We board the flight and I fought with Jeet to get the window seat (he had it from Mumbai to kokata and what the heck I wanted to see the emerald islands when we land;).
Ok..the flight finally takes off and we heave a sigh of relief.. man only 10 min late..wow!! Scored pretty high on our low expectations; I lower down my windows and sleep so that the zilch sleep that we had last night is somehow compensated…

Time 0800hrs: The captain announces air turbulence and requests us to tie our seat belts.. well obviously not thinking much everyone complies (it’s a very very small thing u see)…in the mean time the plane is shaking a bit too much but naah we didn’t think much at that time..
Time 0830hrs: The captain announces that due to some operational problems we will be turning back to kolkata..Jeet wakes me up and repeats the same…and I say ok.
Well.. what we are turning back..humm..ohk..
But what??? holy shit..”man tell me how common or uncommon is it to return after 1 ½ hrs of flight when port blair shud be just another ½ hr away”!!!.. Intriguing isn’t it… A bit more thought goes into it and then ..shit there is some major problem dude..and yes than it all sinks in…we understand the gravity..
In the mean time other passengers ask what’s the glitch…and air hostess obviously herself short of words says “Sir to go to Port Blair we have to fly over sea and it requires special arrangements to land then”!!! what???
@$#^ Stumped.!! Yes this was what was said verbatim... me n jeet both laugh out aloud when in the same mechanized way the reason was repeated to the guy one seat ahead.
Others also now understanding the gravity start freaking out…(well the guys in the window seat behind me starts gasping for breath and puts a bag on mouth to catch breath…)..
All this while the goddamn plane was quaking vigorously in air… Me n Jeet both try to crack jokes and laugh abt (the silly reasons that were given u
see) but inside both are queasy and scared.
Me specially….well hell why ? ‘cause I freakin’ chose to sit at the window seat and can see the plane trying to hold itself over clouds all the time …man why did I made that mistake..fish!

Time 0900hrs: The captain announces “crew prepare for landing”.
..What??? Arre abhi toh sirf aadha ghanta hua hai paltey huey!!
Now we realize that the plane must have turned back soon after when we asked to tie our seat belts..
Anyways now we ditch in the clouds and plane is quaking even more… People I’ll tell u was never scared so much in my life…Scared to death u see..literally..
In the mean time firangs in the plane are also freaking out..
No body can see anything its all hazy outside…and all the intestines are entwined in the stomach..gosh that queasy feeling..never felt so helpless..all the awkward or scary situations I have been able to do something but here u rely on pilot sir..sit..and pray!!
Finally we are below clouds and can see land… We circle the airport for another 15 min obviously cause either they were preparing for emergency landing or rights to land were awaited… In either case new questions arise ..is there a problem with landing gear or problem with engine??
I said hey bhagwaan pls agar prob ho toh landing gear key saath atleast nichey toh pahoonchengey..pls pls..begging with my life..
Time 0915 hrs: The plane limping back on one engine finally hit the runaway n all of us heave a sigh ..man that was a flight… Everybody wants to get down ..fast ..fast.
As the Airbus turns towards the vacant area near the airport we see a whole army of ambulances n fire brigades which were chasing the plane after it landed turning towards their parking area..
We get down n a whole army of Air deccan ppl are swarming near the plane..no half of them ripping apart the right Jet engine and checking it right away..
And well the treatment after a horrendous horrific flight is….”pls get in the bus the flight stands cancelled!!”..What the #%& I say??
Anyways it was not the time to ask anything else we all cram in to a yellow bus n move towards the airport. Meanwhile I get a sms stating “ yr flight is cancelled”!!
Well thank u Air Deccan I didn’t know that!!
And yes the flight stood cancelled which in legal terms (terms n conditions on ticket) meant we will be either returned our money or rescheduled .. in case there are tickets!! Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it!!
In This peak period when the IA flights are booked till 3rd April Ships are full too..what to u expect us to do..where to go..??
Well we had Sudipta n others in there to help..but I think of all those who will have to spend time in kolkata till they get a flight..(n no Air deccan callously told they ain’t payin’ a penny!!) How we reached here that’s another experience (already the mail is too long..u bet;)..
Now Moral of the story..My strong recommendation fly Air Deccan at yr own risk..that is of yr life..if u think its cheap u can buy those cheap tickets and fly in their rickety planes..

Seriously to contemplate now, I do understand it was a technical snag and can happen with any flight but the treatment which is meted out ..what abt that!!
In the end …Air Deccan.. No frills…only Thrills …"

- noopur
(representing the non-flying sufferers who are forced to wait for their near and dear ones as they travel by Air Dhakkan)