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Asha Bhosle's 13-Hour Kingfisher Ordeal

Renowned playback singer Asha Bhosle was among nearly 170 passengers who were to fly to Singapore on a Kingfisher flight on Wednesday night, but were put to  inconvenience after their flight was delayed for 13
PTI September 10, 2010 11:03 IST
PTI
Renowned playback singer Asha Bhosle was among nearly 170 passengers who were to fly to Singapore on a Kingfisher flight on Wednesday night, but were put to  inconvenience after their flight was delayed for 13 hours, reports MidDay..
 
Asha Bhosle, who was celebrating her birthday the same day, was booked on the flight, which was scheduled to take off at 11.05 pm on Wednesday, took off only after Thursday noon, the report said.

Asha Bhosle's grandson, Chintu, told MidDay  the singer had celebrated her birthday before leaving for the airport.  "She was off to Singapore to promote her album. It's strange the flight was delayed for so long," he said.

According to Mumbai airport officials, Kingfisher flight IT 029 tried to take off twice but failed due to an error. Passengers were made to alight and board twice.

Among the stranded passengers was a young Judo team. Its members had to sleep in the waiting room as no alternate arrangement was made despite repeated complaints at the airline counter.

"Every time the airline enquiry announced the flight departure, we were forced to wait inside the airport as we had no option.  We were left to fend for ourselves. I don't want to say anything else as it hardly it matters for airline firms in India," a team member said.

The trouble for the passengers was evident when a few passengers went to the extent of shouting at airline staff and had to be pacified by CISF personnel.

The airline, however, did not specify the nature of the technical fault nor did it say if any arrangements had been made for convenience of passengers during their 13-hour-long wait at the airport.

A ground staff from Kingfisher airline, who was on duty at the time of the incident, said under condition of anonymity, "In technical terms, the fault is called Ground turn back, which means that the take-off configuration of the aircraft did not support the take-off because of a technical error.
 
The aircraft was brought to the workshop to rectify the snag after which it was cleared for take-off around 2 am but it failed again.

Since a replacement A 330 aircraft was not available, experts had to be rushed in to fix the problem. By 8 am, the problem was fixed but it took four more hours to get the flight ready."

Late Thursday night, Asha Bhosle  put up pictures of her celebrating her birthday aboard the aircraft on her Twitter account saying, "The airline celebrated my birthday high above the Bay Of Bengal! Thanks everyone!" She also said, "Reached Singapore a few hours back and found many Birthday wishes still pouring in! Thanks a lot to everyone once again!"

DGCA proposes a compensation if a flight is delayed for more than two hours. According to a new rule formulated by the civil aviation authority, passengers are entitled to receive compensation in case of flight delays.