Dubai: More than 200 passengers were holed up in a hotel for 33 hours on Sunday after their Air India flight from Dubai to Kochi was grounded due to engineering issues.
Flight AI934 was meant to depart at 1.30pm from Dubai on Saturday but didn't leave until 10.30pm on Sunday. The Dreamliner aircraft eventually arrived in Kochi at 3.55am local time on Monday morning.
A spokesperson from Air India had told Gulf News: “There is an engineering issue we are trying to rectify. A full team of engineers has come in from India to rectify the issue. A revised departure time is subject to engineering clearance. All passengers have been taken to a hotel and are being taken care of,” the spokesperson added.
Passengers had been given a tentative departure time of 7.30pm on Sunday, but that remained subject to clearance.
“I’ve been staying in Dubai over 20 years and this is the first time I’ve experienced such a thing,” said one passenger Addhul Dafoor, who has missed his cousin’s wedding due to the inconvenience.
“We were meant to arrive in time for the wedding today, but now we have missed it and we are now worried about missing other things like doctor’s appointments tomorrow (Monday).
“This is eating into our holiday,” he added. “More than 200 of us are just waiting in Dubai International Hotel lobby for more information. They keep giving us revised times that don’t materialise. We are struggling here and are being given very little information about what’s actually happening. In the meantime we have been given food vouchers for breakfast and lunch. About 20 passengers have already booked themselves onto other flights.”
Another passenger, KK Suresh, agreed: “All we have been told is that it is down to engine issues. About 200 of us are in the Dubai International Hotel waiting, elderly people with women and children. We’ve been given several departure times that keep being revised. They’ve told us 7.30pm now but they are not sure.”
A video also emerged on Facebook whereby one passenger detailed how she had missed her father's funeral, while another man said he was now late for a scheduled heart surgery. Pregnant women and parents of young children were also left without their baggage because it had been checked in meaning they couldn't get a spare change of clothes for their children nor extra milk or nappies.
They also complained that the area to avail of their free food vouchers was too far from the hotel and that no official from the airline had come to check on their wellbeing.