Fog can’t be the Excuse for Shabby Services

Stranded on aerobridges, diverted flights, and exhausted pilots. Are fog and weather excuses enough? Urgent calls for regulations arise as passengers bear the brunt. What rights do air travellers truly have?

Sharad Gupta
New Update

A well-known actress took to social media to air her woes recently. She along with co-passengers had been asked by the airline to move past the boarding gate. The problem was that the aircraft had not reached there. The passengers couldn’t board the flight nor could they return to the airport building. They were stranded on the aerobridge for hours.

Another aircraft took off from Mumbai for Guwahati but couldn’t land because of the fog and was diverted to Dhaka. The passengers, mostly without a passport because theirs being a domestic flight, had to remain seated in the claustrophobic aircraft for over seven hours. The normally journey time of three hours, extended to 12 hours in this case.

Another Delhi-bound flight from Goa, was diverted to Mumbai after an eternal wait of 18 hours. The flight ran out of food and snacks during this period. The passengers were finally served packed food by the airline at the Mumbai tarmac. The incident raised lot of hue and cry after its videos made it to social media. The airline has of late, served a notice by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for this incident.


these incidents have raised concerns about air travellers’ rights and facilities. A passenger on reaching late even by a few minutes, isn’t allowed to board the aircraft by almost every airline. But, the same airlines don’t care a hoot about passengers’ facilities and rights. If a passenger gets enraged at an inordinate delay in the flight and loses cool, he is arrested and debarred from boarding another flight – putting in the no-fly list - for some time – ranging from a few weeks to a few months. 

The question is whether fog only is the root cause of all delays? Several cases have come to light when passengers were told that the flight was delayed because of the fog whereas the real reason was the non-reporting of the pilot or some other crew member. 


This reporter has been on receiving end once when his flight from Guwahati to New Delhi didn’t take off on time. It was the last flight of the day. When he saw the crew members going out of the airport, he was told the flight won’t take off because the pilot’s flying overs had been exhausted and he needed to rest before flying again.

The question is why was a pilot sent on a return flight who could traverse only a one-way journey? Another question is – when the airline knew very well that the pilot had exhausted his flying hours then why were passengers not informed beforehand? Why were they made to wait at the airport with boarding pass on hand, till well close to midnight? 


The civil aviation ministry has of course, set up control rooms at airports in metro cities to tackle the problem of fog. But, the malady lies elsewhere. It is in the attitude of the airlines and their staff. A passenger is made to pay for his/her knowing or unknowing mistakes. But, the airline is always right. 

There is urgent need for a policy to regulate erring airlines. With ultra-modern weather forecasting systems in place, airlines can’t take recourse to the excuse of bad weather. They need to take precautionary steps to save passengers from inconvenience. Today, they take corrective ones at the cost of passengers’ convenience and urgency. Its time airlines are made to pay for their faults much as passengers are asked to pay for their faults.