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News : Spicejet's Call Centre Log-Jammed As Passengers Panic
Chennai, Nov 20, 2014 -- Spicejet's call centre was flooded with calls from panicky passengers, as the airline revised their flight schedules, dropping at least 15 flight services across the country. An official working with the airline in Delhi confirmed that their call volume had "tripled" in the last 24 hours and they were working overtime to sort out the number of complaint calls coming in.
The panic began when word got on to Twitter and Whatsapp that all Spicejet flights from Chennai stood cancelled. Frantic passengers lit up the phone lines and even thronged the counter at the airport, seeking clarity. Captain Mohan Ranganthan, aviation industry tracker added to it by posting images of no Spicejet live flight activity from internet plane tracker Flight Radar 24.
This led to a tug of war on twitter with Spicejet COO Sanjiv Kapoor, "There are also rumours being spread by certain motivated quarters about all flights from Chennai being cancelled. These rumours are categorically untrue. There are 31 daily departures from Chennai in our current modified schedule, of which all are operating normally and as of 900am this morning, 9 departures had already taken place. The timing and lack of truthfulness in these stories suggests vested interests are at play," read the polished version (sent by the airline as a statement), of the exchange between the two.
The situation at the city airport went into freefall though, "The passengers on the cancelled flights tried asking Spicejet to give them an alternate flight, but as they were booked out, they all rushed over to the Jet Airways counter and literally fought to get tickets. Two CISF guards and ourselves had to control them," said a police official at the airport. Apparently, one of the passengers booked on the cancelled SG 3301 was told by the Spicejet call-centre to go the airport and contact the counter to "definitely" get a ticket. Alas, that never quite worked out.
Spicejet was operating 34 flights from Chennai, until the revised schedule kicked in. There was no indication of any of this as passengers who were due to fly out on the early flights to Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad had a rude shock on Wednesday - when they received an sms stating that their flight had been cancelled for operational reasons. "It was a business trip and I had no option but to go. I tried to call the Spicejet call centre as the sms said we could get it re-booked, but I was on hold for 30 minutes twice, before they disconnected. I had to book an expensive Air India flight eventually," said an agitated Prateek Rakshan, who needed to get to Hyderabad in a hurry.
Reports have also begun to emerge that flights to sectors like Madurai (which Spicejet flies to thrice a day from Chennai) have been reduced and low-frequency sectors like Guwahati have been altered.
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SpiceJet is an Indian low-cost airline owned by the Sun Group of India. It is the country's second largest airline by domestic passenger share.
Published: Friday, November 21, 2014