Air India to refund fare, give travel voucher to passengers who were stranded for 39 hours in Russia
Air India flight AI 173 operating Delhi-San Francisco on June 6, carrying 232 passengers and crew on board, was diverted to the Magadan port city in far east Russia following a mid-air glitch in one of the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft engines.
Air India said on Thursday confirmed that it would reimburse the full sum to all passengers impacted by the flight's June 6 diversion due to a mid-air problem. Following a mid-air malfunction of one of the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft engines, Air India flight AI 173, which was travelling from Delhi to San Francisco on Tuesday, diverted to the Magadan port city in far east Russia, carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew members.
In the communication by Air India Chief Customer Experience and Ground Handling Officer Rajesh Dogra, the airline told the passengers, who reached their destination after nearly 56 hours of departing from Delhi: "We will fully refund the fare for your journey and, in addition, provide you a voucher for future travel on Air India".
The airline sent a ferry flight to Magadan from Mumbai on Wednesday in order to convey the stranded passengers and staff from that location to San Francisco.
The replacement aircraft took off for San Francisco at 1027 local time on June 8 and landed there at 12:07 local time on June 8. It arrived at Magadan at 06:14 local time on June 8.
According to the email, the airline "sincerely apologised" to the passengers for the "extended delay" in getting them to their destination in addition to expressing "regret" for the interruption and inconvenience.
"The aircraft encountered a technical issue whereby the pilots received an indication of low oil pressure in one engine. Out of caution, they elected to land the aircraft at a nearby airport rather than continue the journey," Air India said.
Maintaining that the safety was the highest priority throughout, it added that "while the facilities in Magadan, a small city, may not have met the standard we would normally aim to provide, we are grateful for your tolerance and understanding that our local agents and crew did their best under the circumstances."
It should be noted that Air India later claimed that "infrastructure constraints" made it necessary for them to stay in temporary quarters, despite initially claiming that the passengers and crew were housed "in hotels locally."
In the email, Air India also stated that although it despatched a relief flight as soon as it was practicable given the requirement to get insurance and flight plan approvals, it was obvious that the delay's duration was "long" and the "experience was not what we aspire to offer".
"As such, we will fully refund the fare for your journey and, in addition, provide you a voucher for future travel on Air India," the Tata group airline said.