Jammu & Kashmir

Airlines rescheduling flights ‘deliberately’ on bad weather days, allege passengers as airfares skyrocket

Airport authorities says flights for ‘better weather’ days booked, ‘cant go out of the way for any passenger’

Srinagar: Air passengers intending to travel from Kashmir to other parts of the world are stuck in the valley as the flights are canceled. But the passengers whose flights were cancelled in the previous weeks allege that the airlines are again and again scheduling their flights on days for which travel advisory is issued.

One of the passengers told Free Press Kashmir that the behaviour of airline officials is ‘extremely insulting’ with one airline telling passengers to “cancel their tickets or go outside the valley by foot.”

Due to the bad weather and heavy snowfall in the valley, airlines haven’t been able to take flights regularly. The aspirants for various exams, people wishing to meet their families after a long time or planning to visit other places for medical treatment are all stuck in the valley. The airlines, they say, only have robotic answers for them.

Nazar ul Islam Banday, from Handwara, says that he has been travelling from Handwara to Srinagar to board a flight to Delhi and ends up going back home after waiting all day.

“I was supposed to apply for IELTS test as I want to go abroad to study. I was planning to prepare in Delhi for a month and then write an exam. I had booked the ticket on January 31. Due to the bad weather, the flights were postponed to February 6 instead of February 1 or 2, when we knew there was a warning for that day,” says Banday adding that his flight has again been rescheduled to February 13 the day for which there is a weather warning again.”

“I had asked them to make it a little earlier on because the weather on Feb 13 is again going to be bad, the but the man behind the counter at the Airport asked me to either cancel the ticket or go to Delhi by foot!” he exclaims adding “I have back issues and I have travelled so much these days. At present, I am staying with a friend in Srinagar as I could not even go back home.”

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Nazar is irked by the fact that the authorities have not rescheduled his ticket for four days when the weather is clear according to weather predictions.

Another passenger requesting the airport authority to reschedule his ticket like Nazar had to cancel his ticket as he was given a date post the event he wanted to attend.

“I wanted to meet my son in Tehran after a long time. But I am stuck. This is illogical and frustrating the way they are scheduling our tickets to days we know we cannot move. I had to go to Delhi first and had also booked hotels. It has incurred a loss to me,” says another passenger who had taken an off from his duties to travel.

Meanwhile, the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), a national-level post-graduate entrance exam, aspirants have already missed their examination which was held on February 2 and 3. Those aspirants who had to take it on Feb 10 and 11, are now in a fix.

“There are chances that the authorities might help us. I read a report in a newspaper where the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir had asked the aspirants who had missed the exam to register themselves with his office. But, it is an examination of the National level. God knows if anything really happens,” says Ambreen, one of the aspirants.

“The airport authorities here are too stringent and they don’t have the courtesy to bring the passengers on one table and let those fly first who need to go outside the state urgently. Instead, they think of the ways they can loot people. And they are too rude to talk to,” says another aspirant.

Speaking to Free Press Kashmir, the airport authorities said that the flights for ‘better weather’ days have already been booked and that they cannot go out of the way for any passenger.

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