Mr. Shamnad, a passenger on Air India Express (AIE) flight IX348, was prepared to attend his brother’s wedding on Saturday. He reached Abu Dhabi International Airport on Thursday night with his family, including his wife and two children, on Friday. Their flight did not go as planned.

Shamnad told the Khaleej Times about IX348’s 16.5 hour delay. The family was among more than 100 passengers who were stranded in the airport.

Another passenger was K.K Moideen Koya, a media professional in Abu Dhabi, who had a meeting to attend in Kozhikode at 15:00.

“It was an important meeting with a state minister and I missed it. The worst thing we faced was the lack of communication from the AIE officials,” said Koya.

IX348 was scheduled for 12:20 am on Friday, but it didn’t take off until 16:30.

An official for Air India Express said that this is “a very rare situation” caused by an engineering delay which was not solved as expected. 

Passengers complained that they were not informed about the delay’s cause until boarding.  

“In the beginning, they said the flight would be taking off soon and we had to wait. However, later they announced the flight would be delayed further and those who wanted could avail of hotel accommodation. We were checked in at a hotel by 5.30am,” said Shamnad.

Some passengers requested a refund, and other people returned home after a promise for updates and a paid taxi fare.

For those who stayed at the hotel, struggles did not seem to end.

“First, we were informed at the hotel that the flight would take off by 10 am but they continued to change the time. By 14:00, we boarded the flight and then had to wait inside it for more than two hours,” said Koya minutes before the flight took off.

TEven the passengers who had chosen to go home, who had expected information from Air India Express, say they did not receive updates at all.

“We had collected the number of some co-passengers and they informed us in the morning that they are checking out from the hotel. If we had waited for any information from the airline, we would have missed the flight,” a passenger said.

Overall, IX348 passengers were exasperated and certainly will not forget this experience.

Featuring Image By Akshay Mantri