Jet Airways, Air India received most passenger complaints in 3 years: Govt data

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Dec 27, 2017 11:14 PM IST

Data from the civil aviation ministry shows that 22 passengers lodged complaints against all airlines every day in 2017, and national carrier Air India and Jet Airways lead the pack of offenders.

Airline passengers face the maximum inconvenience while travelling by national carrier Air India and private Jet Airways, according to the official data of complaints submitted by the government in Parliament.

A Jet Airways aircraft takes off from the Ahmedabad airport. Jet Airways and Air India face the maximum complaints from passengers, according to government data.(REUTERS)
A Jet Airways aircraft takes off from the Ahmedabad airport. Jet Airways and Air India face the maximum complaints from passengers, according to government data.(REUTERS)

The three-year data presented by the minister of state for civil aviation, Jayant Sinha, in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha shows that in 2015, 11,046 air passengers lodged complaints against 10 operators.

This came down to 9,834 in 2016 and the trend continued with 6,884 complaints lodged till October 2017.

On an average, 22 passengers lodged complaints against all airlines every day in 2017 for denied boarding, cancellation of flights, mishandling or loss of baggage, delay in flights, food quality, the behaviour of airline’s officials etc.

Jet Airways and Air India continue to lead the pack of offenders even though the number of complaints has come down from 30 per day in 2015.

Complaints per 10,000 customers worked out on the basis of total air passengers each airline reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) shows that complaints against Air India have come down from 2.21 in 2015 to 2.07 till October this year and for Jet Airways it was 1.38 to 1.29 for the same period.

But out of the total complaints, their share is on the rise from 47% in 2015 to 63% in 2016 and 66.7% until October 2017.

Indigo has the least number of complaints in all the three years despite the fact that it has the highest market share of approximately 40%.

Senior officials from Jet Airways and Air India said there are a variety of reasons for the increase in the number of complaints.

“Air India operates to the maximum number of domestic and international destination among all Indian airlines. With a large network, changing weather conditions in India and overseas where Air India operates, resulted in indirect reasons for an increase in feedback,” Air India’s senior manager for customer care Praveen Bhatnagar said.

R Singh, a traffic services official with Air India, said complaints may arise due to perception for example quality of the meal, greeting style, recognition, politeness, and misinformation.

“Under ‘Hub and Spoke’ policy, we bring passengers from smaller towns to connect them to other areas. Any delay in arrival or departure leads to passengers lodging complaints,” GP Rao, Air India’s head of corporate communication, said.

“As illustrated by the available data, the airline is making tangible progress in its efforts to minimize operational issues, including cases of delays and denied boarding, which can occur due a various reasons, some of which may not be in the airline’s control,” a statement by Jet Airways said.

A senior official said that overbooking was a major complaint from the passengers.

“The government has allowed overbooking and we do it based on our calculations on the percentage of passengers that may not turn up. Though we meet the legal stipulation to compensate our passengers but as far as the inconvenience is concerned, it does cause discomfort and people complaints,” he said.

Another reason that the official claim is the high expectation of air passengers from Jet Airways.

“We are in the business for the past 25 years. So people have high expectations of services from us. Now since the market has become more competitive, everything has come under stress. But passengers don’t realise it and they complain about every single thing,” he said.

However, former director of flight safety with Indian Airlines SS Panesar said the problem lies with the airlines.

“The number of complaints shows lack of professional etiquettes and ethics among officials. In the time of cut-throat competition, I think, passengers are at the receiving end.”

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    Jeevan Prakash Sharma is assistant editor, Special Assignment. He has spent nearly 20 years in journalism with focus on education, real estate, crime and legal . He specialises in RTI-based information and open source data.

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