Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fogged Out in Kolkatta

It was a cold morning in Kolkata on 3rd January as I and my wife , Jyoti reached the airport . We were to board a flight to Delhi in the afternoon. It was informed that the flight was delayed due to bad weather in Dibrugarh from where it was expected . I looked at the watch and it was 11 AM. There would still be time for me to catch the train from Delhi to Patna which was to leave at 5.15 PM. The airport was slowly getting crowded, so we collected our boarding passes and checked in our baggage. After about an hour of wait it was informed that flight was delayed further as it could not depart, due continuing bad weather. I was now a little edgy and spoke to the supervisor that I would not be able to catch the connecting train in Delhi hence I needed to cancel my travel though my wife's plan to travel to Delhi remained unchanged. She was busy and kept insisting that I wait for a while. With every passing minute, I was growing impatient. I saw the manager of airlines and went across and spoke to him. He was more helpful and after a little discussion called an assistant to retrieve my baggage. He helped in getting my ticket cancelled and even managed to arrange refund the cost of ticket to my credit card account.
The next challenge was to get my train ticket cancelled for which I called my daughter and passed the necessary travel details to assist. She cancelled my ticket from the website. Having done this, I was momentarily relieved, but now I needed a ticket for onward journey to Patna in the evening , the same day, so that I could still reach the place by Sunday evening. I was informed that there was a flight at 6 PM which would reach by 7.30 PM. Having left with no option, I booked an overpriced ticket at the last minute.
In the meantime, flight to Delhi arrived almost three hours behind schedule and I bid goodbye to my wife.I heard the announcement that my flight to Patna was cancelled due operational reasons. I felt as if a ton of bricks were dropped on me, and moved to the booking counter where they confirmed the bad news. I called up my office to inform that I would now travel the next day, and after bookng yet another ticket returned home.
My mother in law was to be operated the next day, and as my flight was to depart later in the afternoon, accompanied my sister in law to assist her. The operation was over by 1PM nd we reached home in another 15 minutes. I collected my baggage and left for the airport only to be informed that due to poor visibility in Patna, the flight was cancelled yet again. It was as if I had been punched on my temple in a boxing ring. I argued with airlines staff but to no avail. They were unwilling to book ticket for the next day citing that there is a possibility of the flight not leaving even the next day. I insisted to book it yet again ! With a heavy heart I headed to my daughter's place. I was wondering how long would I remain stranded in Kolkata!
I headed to the airport yet again, the next day ,morning for the third time and had memorized the route by heart now. I crossed my fngers, and walked to the check in counter to be informed that the flight can take off once the weather clears in Patna, so another endless wait commenced. After every half an hour we were informed of further delay and two hours passed. I was restless, and hungry now, as the airlines staff appeared and magnanimously distribited food and drinks. No sooner had they left, when the flight was finally announced to depart.
I had set a new record in making attempt to fly for three days consecutively, and booking and cancelling tickets .

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