Flight from Cairo: Passengers complain of exorbitant AI fares

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Mumbai, Feb 1 (PTI) Several Indian passengers who wereflown home from strife-hit Cairo on two Air India (AI) flightshave complained that the airline charged fares as high as Rs43,000 for a single ticket to Mumbai.

The flag carrier had operated two flights as a specialmeasure to airlift Indian citizens who were caught in theviolent unrest in Egypt but some stranded fliers alleged thatthey had to shell out almost more than double the cost of asingle ticket from Cairo to Mumbai.

"The airline has charged fares as high as USD 980 (Rs43,000). No doubt they have done a good job by rescuing usfrom the chaos in Cairo, but charging such exorbitant fares insuch a situation is not at all justified," said a passenger,who landed at the Mumbai international airport this morning.

Some of the fliers alleged that the airline did notrealise the gravity of the situation and demanded paymentonly in cash to book a flight ticket.

"They were taking only those people, who were able topay in cash. They were also not accepting payment either bydebit or credit card. Due to this reason, a lot of students,who are not in a position to pay are still stuck in Cairo,"another passenger, who reached Mumbai, said.

However, Air India denied that it had over-chargedpassengers and said these were normal return fares.

"We operated an empty aircraft from Mumbai yesterdayto ferry these passengers by pulling out the plane from ascheduled service," an Air India official said.

A one-way ticket costs around Rs 20,000 at least inthis sector, said a travel agent here.

Meanwhile, Air India flight AI 800 landed at theChhatrapati Shivaji International airport at around 6 am with219 passengers from the troubled nation on board.

Yesterday, a batch of around 300 Indians, stuck in theAfrican country landed here safely, much to the relief ofanxiously waiting relatives in the city, who were happy fortheir luck kins who escaped the tumult that has hit Egypt overthe demand for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Most passengers, who arrived in the first batch inBoeing 747-800 last afternoon were from TATA Steel, whichorganised a three-day conference in Cairo.

Nearly 550 Indians, including tourists, have beentransported back from Egypt till now.

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