An hour late, anywhere in the world
Delays at Indian airports are so routine that we have mostly accepted as a fact of life and the situation is no different either on the budget or the full fare carriers. One of the most hopeless airports in terms of delays is the one at our so-called IT capital – Bangalore. In the past six months, when I have been flying to and from the city fairly regularly, there has not been a single instance where a flight has taken off on time.
Normally, you lose about 10 – 20 minutes after the boarding is announced because of overcrowding and other infrastructure-related issues. Then you have to wait (im)patiently for the engine start, following which you wait in the slot that has been assigned to you for take off. By the time you are airborne, you are already at least 15 minutes late. Unfortunately, for me, the nightmare does not end there.
Skies above Delhi, anytime of the day or night, is like a vortex of aircrafts in their different stages of descent. Losing another 10 – 20 minutes looking down at the tangled web of lights down below is the norm these days and by the time you get out of the airport, you have comfortably lost over an hour from your scheduled arrival time. To make matters worse, these days the airport arrival board does is often not regularly updated in case of a delayed flight, which means you spend another 15 minutes trying to spot your driver who does not know you have finally arrived.
But hey, there is hope. We have now institutionalized the delays to such an extent that soon we will going get hotels in the terminals that will enable business people to conduct their meetings. In any case, the common refrain in such circumstances is usually a jab at our status as a developing and crowded nation and the conversation usually veers to how different it is in the west and other foreign countries.
Well, apparently, the affairs in the realm of air travel anywhere ain’t all that rosy as it is made out to be. This report, in the NYT, details how more than 100 domestic flights are officially late by at least 15 minutes 70 per cent or more of the time. It is so bad in some cases that they had to go to church and light a few candles, when all else failed to get some of the consistently chronically late flights to be on time. I guess we are not the only nation that turns to faith to work out matters that are meant to be covered by anything but that.