Purposely I have mixed up two issues . 1 Sr. Citizens and their loneliness and failure of Society to provide them company .2. Communication failure and lack of compassion towards passengers including towards ailing sr. Citizens by Kingfisher Airlines.
Dear Shri Vijay
Man and Machine can fail but why communication and hospitality
My mother aged 84 years has not been well for last over six months. She is hypertensive (high B.P.) and is very weak and is suffering from incontinence. Her cornea has been damaged and thus has Low vision. Therefore she cannot do household jobs to pass time. She cannot view TV .She cannot go out even to temple due to physical condition and condition of footpaths in our country. Being at home for long time she was feeling that there should be some change in life. But except for temples for sr. Citizens we have nothing here. She must have attended hundreds of guests over lunch or dinner but None in turn want to invite this ailing women even over a cup of tea (and tea is not important but change is).Those whom we thought have been close to our parents and when they invited us to a party then we took our parents along as they like to mix with all their old near and dear ones. But we were in different language advised to not to take them to such functions like why you are troubling these old parents. When it does not trouble me and when my parents get happiness then what is their problem? And as far as hosts are concerned when they are having hundreds of guests and spending in thousands and even in lacs then attending few sr. Citizens will make them poor? But no one wants to give some warmth, time and happiness in the life of Sr. Citizen. Neither by visiting them nor by inviting them. So the 24 hrs. of Sr. Citizens is like a whole year and time does not get spent easily.
In the given situation we wanted to give my mother some change (and also we had to go out of Mumbai and simultaneously wanted to carry out some painting work in her room) .Luckily news came that Kingfisher has started flights to Nanded where my sister stays. We convinced her about private airlines being good and safe and also convinced her that Kingfisher is a very good airline and that all airlines fully take care of the unaccompanied old ailing passengers and that they will take full responsibility till she is handed over to relatives.
Somehow she got convinced and was happy that she was going out for some days. She was booked on a Kingfisher Red flight leaving at on 18th Nov.2008.
We all got up at about . After readying her we reached Kingfisher Red counter at airport at . We were given a porter with a wheel chair. Though he seemed to be a nice man but we still tipped him so that we have added confidence that she will be properly taken care of. We asked on your counter whether we need to wait till plane takes off which they advised us against. We also asked if there was any form/ card with sling to be filled up with our details should Airlines require to contact us. They again replied in negative and wheeled her inside. We too left. On way we called up my sister that we have dropped mummy and that they should collect her at arrival time of . at
At 7 .30 am my sister called asking me to check that by how much time the flight is late? Being sleepy I told her to find at her Airport itself. She insisted that they have no communication from Mumbai. I told her to wait for some more time. However she called me up at again declaring that flight has been cancelled. I was taken aback and sprang from bed as I realised that it is nearly 3 hours we dropped my mother and in what condition she is? Specially she does not understand English may not understand much of announcements. I also feared if she gets disturbed then her B.P. will also shoot up which can cause any damage (though she was given all her medicines).I reached Airport with my son in ten minutes. We rushed to Kingfisher Red counter. Asked for my mother as their flight has cancelled. To our shock the lady on counter said flight has left .When I insisted that I have confirmed news that same has been cancelled. Then she started checking by calling one Rahul and some other no..For 15 minutes she struggled and when I lost my cool she ran inside the airport and returned after some times and agreed that flight has been cancelled but could not say where the passengers are. Then I started shouting as I feared mummy's B>P> level shooting up. So she called some senior Shiva. He was even carrying Walky talky. He too did not know the Nanded flight has been cancelled and where the passengers are. Then another senior lady came. She could not help us but warned me to not to raise my voice or she will call the security. I shouted and called the security and explained them the seriousness and irresponsible behaviour of Kingfisher. They in turn asked her to solve my problem. However in the meanwhile my son who was looking for some clue reached arrival section and came to know that all passengers have been kept here. However he was not allowed in by security on gate. Then he gave me call and I asked him to go to Airport manager. He was very sympathetic and sent an escort and let my son inside. No sooner my son approached my mother she who was by now in dazed condition started crying. My son pointed out this to even your Mr. Rahul. On way back my mother requested us that hence forth never to send her alone as she was in that shocked state.
And on return flight: Flight Kingfisher IT 4145 dt Dec 17th2008-12-26
We booked the ticket in advance. Several warnings were given time to time like carry I card, carry Xerox of credit card if u have used others card for booking. But no warning was given
A) That mother being old must be accompanied by an escort.
B) Being old she should carry fitness certificate from a doctor.
So an hour before the dep. Time when she reached the Nanded airport the Kingfisher Manger on airport refused to allow her without fitness certificate and without the person accompanying.
All persuasion and arguments failed and finally one person accompanied my mother by buying ticket on spot and checked in without baggage.
Now my humble submissions:
You spend money on high salary, costly uniform, interiors, costly calendar with semi nude costly models etc. Etc. Then why not:
1. Give discounts to senior citizens?
2. Why not upgrade your communication system? The moment flight is cancelled / rescheduled the SMS should go to all your staff and relevant passengers.
3. One of the relative of physically challenged passenger ( be child, old, sick etc...) can be advised to wait till flight takes off and if abnormal delay is there then they should be allowed to be together.
4. Why not train your staff to be compassionate and empower them to take extra ordinary measures to ensure that pleasure of clients and memories of clients are not extinguished. Sometimes it may cost you but will give you rich dividends in terms of blessings and increased loyalty.
5. There is a compulsory requirement of putting a tag on all luggages. But no requirement for dependant clients? Make a system that all such passengers wear a badge ( like most corporate give to their employees) which should contain details of relatives ( those who have come to drop and those who will receive such passengers at other end )with their emergency mobile nos. Even brief condition of health and languages understood should be written on 'unaccompanied traveller' card.
6. The notice board with contact details and email id of responsible persons must be provided on every counter/office of yours. This will make
When Vilasrao Deshmukh announces subsidy in 24 hrs. for airlines on your appeal then why not respond to my appeal which is for senior citizens.
Hope u will do the needful and set an example in aviation industry about human approach towards all but specially towards sr. citizens, physically challenged.