Air India Express crew strike denies Kerala woman a last chance to see husband alive

Amrita, who spoke to reporters, said that after two flights were cancelled, the airline told her nothing could be done.


Published May 14, 2024 | 1:30 PMUpdatedMay 14, 2024 | 3:57 PM

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In a heartbreaking incident, a woman, whose husband was in a hospital ICU in Oman, was unable to see him one last time before he died there due to the cancellation of her Air India Express flight to that country last week, her family alleged.

The woman, Amrita, had booked tickets for 8 May to see her husband in Muscat, but on reaching the airport in Thiruvananthapuram, she was told that the flight was cancelled.

Her protest at the airport earned her a ticket for the next day on another Air India Express flight, but unfortunately, that too was cancelled and she had to abandon her travel plans altogether.

On Monday, 13 May, news of her husband’s death reached her from Oman.

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‘Begged the airline’

“It was so unfair that she could not see him for one last time. We begged the airline to accommodate us on some other flight so that we could see him for one last time. But they did not do anything,” Amrita’s mother told a TV channel.

She also said that Amrita’s husband had said that he wanted to see his wife and kids and that is why they had booked tickets to go see him.

Amrita, who later spoke to reporters, said that after the second flight was also cancelled, the airline told her nothing could be done.

“They said their flights for the next four days were full and they cannot do anything,” she said.

Her husband was hospitalised following a massive heart attack. “I spoke to him over the phone and told him I will try to reach there if I can,” she said.

There was no immediate comment from the airline.

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The strike

Air India Express had cancelled “scores of flights” last week due to a shortage of cabin crew members as a section of them reported sick to protest against alleged mismanagement at the Tata Group-owned airline.

Discontent has been brewing among a section of the cabin crew at the low-cost carrier for some time now, especially after the start of the process of merger of AIX Connect, formerly AirAsia India, with itself.

Later, on 10 May, the strike by a section of the cabin crew was called off and the airline also withdrew termination letters issued to 25 striking cabin crew.

From 8 to 10 May, Air India Express had to cancel over 260 flights due to cabin crew shortage, an airline source said.

The airline on 12 May had said that it was slowly restoring its flights and stabilising the network and that full normalcy was expected by Tuesday. The same day, the cabin crew union had said that all members who had reported sick had joined duty by 11 May.

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