Airlines need better strategy
If you are travelling from Kolkta to any domestic destination, how much time it takes for luggage booking and security check? Probably 30 Minutes if you are travelling from airports like Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi.
It's only submitting your main luggage to the counter you have booked a ticket with. But 30 minutes is okay to transfer your luggage to the basement of the Plane? Maybe they need more time to transfer your luggage and for security checks.
Some Airline comes with the message; reach the Airport at least before 1 Hour and some airlines have the protocol of reaching before 2 hours. But who sets the norms of check-in time with the Airport? Is that an Airline company like Spicejet, Indigo, Qatar Airlines, Vistara?
Or Airport Authority of India https://www.aai.aero/en ?
Last time I was flying for Bagdogra from Kolkata and booked a ticket with SpiceJet. I have reached early 40 minutes to the Airport.
At the main entrance, I have shown my ticket to the Indian Jawan on duty. I have reached to the Spicject counter for luggage transfer and to have a copy of the boarding Pass. Even it does not require if you have a hard copy of boarding pass these days. But you need to visit the Airline counter for the Main Luggage transfer. The lady at the counter saw my ticket and ID proof. I have placed the luggage on the trolley. After some time she has come to a message that; I should be reported at least 1 Hour before. I requested her that I am late for the traffic. She conveyed, that is the norm of Spicejet.
To crosscheck; I again visited the Spicejet counter; where few of Crew Members were present. I asked can I onboard now and book the main luggage. I have around 35 minutes. Few of the team members have replied yes I can on board and book my luggage. I purposefully asked which counter I can book the luggage? They have shown me a counter and I went for the process. But that staff also came up with the message that I am late for onboarding and they can't do anything. I should have been reported at least one hour before.
Security check was going on in front of my eyes; it could have taken hardly 5-10 minutes to fulfil the security check. There are at least 3-4 gates for security check and hardly 20-30 people were in the queue.
I am curious; Spicejet does not allow any passengers for boarding prior to one hour! Or the staff on duty decides the protocol. Are they so strict on their norms as a Company or the staff decides? But all the staff are representing Spcijet only. They are getting paid for the work they do. And they are a service-based company. Passengers who have travelled frequently with Spicejet would be better at knowing if they have been allowed by SpiceJet to onboard based on their norms. I missed the flight as Passenger and I can get all the info from various sources about whether they have allowed any passengers apart from the protocol they have ( check in one hour before). It's not my regret I am not able to travel with them, but I missed my flight and my time was wasted reaching the airport and for the day, there was no flight that day operating for Siliguri.
I was clueless! I felt bad for not reaching on time. But suddenly my trip from Guwahati to Kolkata came to my mind. I reached Guwahati Airport 30 Minutes before. When I reported on the counter of Indian Airlines, they guided me well for onboarding. One of the Crew member has helped me to bypass the security check. And I have boarded well.
Few days after I was travelling to Bhopal from Kolkata and reached the airport at least 2 hours before. I reached well with Indigo.
On my return from Bhopal; I experienced measure mismanagement by team Indigo. It was a connecting flight; from Bhopal to Hyderabad and Kolkata.
They departed 1 hour after from Bhopal. There was slight rain, I thought due to rain there must be some delays. I reached to Hyderabad and the waiting time was enough to fall asleep at the airport. Or to move out from the airport and explore Hyderabad for 2 hours.
I have seen massive mismanagement by the entire team of Indigo that day, especially at Hyderabad airport. After the security check, I reported to the gate from where I was supposed to get on board. The guy at the gate told me the flight is delayed for half an hour. I was exploring the Airport and came back on time. But the gate was having passengers for Pune maybe. I was clueless! I again asked when the flight will depart! They could not tell me the exact time. The only message I got to hear we are running late.
I needed to chill myself, and had some food and beverages. Got calls from my close ones; I was clueless to tell them, why it's taking so much time for them to operate. At some moment I really felt like getting out of the airport and staying at Hyderabad and coming back Kolkata by train. At least I can reach to the platform 10 minutes before next day after having a good sleep at any hotel.
My eyes were following the boards for departure time at Hyderabad. In between Indigo have changed the departure time several times. I felt like they are doing jokes and wanted to create a movie like Terminal.
My gate for departure changed to 101 for some time in between. I was thinking, how many gates do they have! Later they have changed the departure gates to 19. I was seating and listening to some songs, my eyes were on the board. I did not have any beliefs for Indigo that day. I felt they can change the time and entry gate at any point of time. And that was exactly happening. After a few moments, they changed the entry gate to 20. I was smiling within myself! and was enjoying the melodrama. There was nice rain visible on the runways, enjoyed the moment along with music on my ears.
Finally, I got onboarded and reached Kolkata. I have seen passengers were tired and not on a smiling face. I felt like I am travelling on a midnight train with a sleeper coach. Everybody went on sleep and some of them were gossiping. I felt like having a Nap.
I was mesmerising the city of lake; Bhopal. I was thinking about the nice trip I had.
This connecting flight journey has given me a similar experience while I was travelling from Delhi to Switzerland, in between there was hold at Doha. It was nice experience travelling with Qatar Airlines.
* If any staff from the airlines have any inputs, can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can request a video (from CC Cam) from the airport authority on the onboarding process.