Air India Strands Passengers While Being Stingy With Information

If you’re looking for a step-by-step list of how not to treat your customers, look no further than the news of Air India stranding a couple hundred passengers for close to nine hours on one of its flights on October 18, while reportedly offering them little information.

Flying from Mumbai to London, the Air India flight, which was supposed to land at Heathrow Airport, was diverted to nearby Gatwick Airport—a mere 45 miles away—due to weather conditions. What was supposed to be a 90-minute delay became a much longer ordeal when aviation rules forced the crew to stop working due to shift maximums. The airline had to truck in a new crew—which proceeded to get lost in Gatwick Airport.

You’d think the airline would provide simple conveniences for passengers, such as food and water. You’d be wrong.

Since Air India’s caterers are located at Heathrow, the passengers did not even have access to food while on the plane. In fact, the staff at Gatwick even tried to come to their aid, but was rebuffed by the airline. “If Air India had allowed them off, the passengers could have come to the terminal [of Gatwick Airport]. We would have helped them with their welfare,” said a Gatwick spokesperson.

As the plane remained parked near the tarmac, and with multiple alternate transportation options available, such as buses that connect both airports and trains that go from each airport to the center of London, you’d think Air India would look into helping the passengers get home. You’d be wrong.

A spokesperson for Gatwick said to the AFP that it had been Air India’s decision to keep the passengers on board rather than arrange alternative transport to Heathrow. Needless to say, after waiting for such a significant amount of time with no movement, or even information, the passengers got restless and angry.

This incident is in stark contrast from how American Airlines handled a much bigger crisis in August 2010, when it tapped social media to keep on-flight passengers informed about a possible bomb threat on the plane.

Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.