Air India Pilots' strike hits holidaymakers

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Air India
New Delhi, May 13: For many like Raman B Sharma, an IT professional who was looking forward to his dream vacation, the strike by Air India pilots could not have come at a worse time.

Sharma had booked tickets for his family for a 30-day vacation in the US about four months ago. But his plans ran into rough weather when his flight was cancelled because of pilots' strike.

He complained that the airline did not provide him adequate information about the cancellation due to which he had to postpone his plan as tickets for Delhi-New York is either not available or even if some are there, the prices have skyrocketed.

The strike by Air India pilots has dashed the plans of many such holidaymakers who had planned their vacations well in advance, but now they could be seen running from one booking counter to another at the airport looking for affordable alternatives.

"I had bought a return ticket for Rs 80,000 each for three of us, but now ticket prices have doubled as most of the airlines are going full. The worst part is that our 'so-called national carrier' has failed to provide any help to us in accommodating us in any other flight," said an angry Sharma.

Similarly, Mohammed Riyaz, a contractual worker in a Saudi Arabia based construction company, who had come to India on a vacation, is now worried of losing his job if fails to report for duty by May 16.

Riyaz had booked his ticket on Air India's Delhi-Mumbai-Jeddah flight but as the flight was cancelled and the airline suspended the bookings till May 15 on Europe, US, Riyadh and Jeddah sectors, he is apprehensive whether he would be able to make it in time.

"I was happy that I will reach Jeddah well before my leave ends on May 15, so I had booked a ticket for May 12 but now the flight is cancelled and there is no hope that situation would become better in next two days, I may lose my job in Saudi Arabia," said Riyaz, who had come from Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district.

"If I lose the job then it will be hard to find one as they are very strict about the leave and work visa laws. Also it will create problems for my family of 15 people," said an anxious Riyaz.

Many passengers like them could be seen haggling with airline officials at the terminal.

Over 200 Air India pilots are on strike since Tuesday in protest against rescheduling of Dreamliner training programme and issues related to career progression.

PTI

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