Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Times of India--Continental Flight

Newark flight finally leaves after two days

May 22, 2011, 11.21pm IST
New Delhi: Passengers of a Continental Airlines flight to Newark spent over 44 hours in the city after their flight got delayed due to a technical snag. The delayed flight CO83 was scheduled to depart from Delhi's IGI Airport at 10.50pm on Friday but finally departed around 6 on Sunday evening.
Dr Yog Raj Sharma, a passenger on the flight, said he and his family had been made to board and sat in the aircraft for about three hours before airline officials told them that the flight had been rescheduled for the next day. "The crew kept telling us that we would take off shortly but when even the air-conditioning stopped working, we were told that we would be shifted to a hotel as there was a technical problem with the aircraft. At 4am, we were shifted to a hotel in Vasant Kunj," said Sharma.
Ashish Pradhan, who had come to India with his wife for his sister's wedding and was scheduled to join work on Monday, said there was complete mismanagement on the airline's part as it kept lying to them about the flight's departure.
------------------------------I finally made it home Monday morning, no thanks to the staff from Continental in New Delhi.  They scheduled me to come home on Monday night.  When we arrived in Newark, the staff there at least had empathy for what had happened to us, and were wondering why we were not placed on flight 083 that had many open seats while we were in India.  That would have meant that they would have had to use some logic in New Delhi, but that is not the case.  We were left in unsafe conditions, while at the Delhi airport, and no one seemed to care.  Children were sleeping on the floor and no one even offered us water or food after 12 hours of being in the airport.  The staff refused to keep of abreast of what was happening.  The only thing they would announce was that we will be boarding in 10 minutes, and that never came to fruition.   Just trying to get on the buses that were transporting us to the hotel for the night left us in great danger.  People were scattered all over with no lines, and buses were coming and going at a good rate of speed, and the Continental staff was just standing there, doing nothing.  Someone will  get hit by a bus or have a heart attack, because they are unable to get their luggage and Continental/United will be sued.  We were told that they didn't want to get our luggage off of the plane because it was raining.  By the second day, passengers were outraged and said that they would not leave the airport until we received our luggage.  I will be in touch with Continental to see how they plan on compensating those of us who were stuck in Delhi due to a lot of negligence on their behalf.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


If I were not stranded in New Delhi, I would be home in Maryland with my family.  My flight was scheduled to arrive at the Dullas/Washington DC airport on Saturday at 7:25 in the morning.  It is currently 8:10 am,  Monday morning in New Delhi.  Last night our airplane was grounded for the second time and we still have not beenhave given  any explanation.  The Continental crew at the Delhi airport are completely incompetent and could care less about customer service.  It was total mayhem in section 3A of Delhi airport last night,  and it appeared that no one cared, and there was no upper management to be found anywhere on site.  After more than 30 hours of not even having a change of clothes passengers did convince airline officials to  at least have someone pull our luggage out from the airplane so that we would have a change of clothing.  That process did around 2 1/2 hours.

Prior to all of that, the buses came to pick us up at 5:30 on Saturday evening for a 10:15 flight.  Our hotel is at the most 15-20 minutes from the airport.  We arrived at Indira Gandhi Airport at 6:30, and left by 3:15 in the early morning hours.  We all first started to get a glimpse that something was not right, when the staff kept saying that we would be boarding in 10 minutes, and we saw the staff of Continental start laughing.  They were laughing because their was no plane to board.  The communication from the staff at the airlines was horrific.  They never keep us abreast of anything that was happening, but just continued the charade of saying that we would be boarding soon.   Finally, we became aware that the problem was never fixed from the night before.  They were in the process of trying to fix whatever was needed while we were in the airport.  After keeping us and stringing us along for hours, they finally made an announcement around 1 am, stating  that the flight was cancelled.  I started crying at that point, and a flight captain was trying to console me.  He told me that the plane was not safe to fly at all, but didn't get into many details, but said that a lot was wrong with the plane and he had no idea when that particular plane would be ready to fly again.

Several hours later we were told that a representative would be at our hotel at 5am to get everything settled and to make sure that all remaining passengers were on a flight home.  Well dummy me, still wanted to believe these numb-nuts, and I stayed up until 6 am, waiting for a representative.  No representative showed up, so I finally decided to get an hour of sleep.  I asked the staff at the hotel to give me a wake up call at 7, which they did.  I promptly put on the same clothes that I have been wearing for 36 hours and went to the lobby in hopes that I would see the Continental representatives, but all I saw was empty beautiful leather sofas.

The staff at The Grand, said they have not heard anything from Continental, nor has anyone come to the hotel.  It is now 8:40 am, and we have no idea when we are going home.  A number of people were able to allude the airport officials and book flights on Air France, and other airlines last night.  Once airline officials saw what was happening no one else was allowed to go back into the airport, so those of us trying to get another flight were just out of luck.  There are so many people with connecting flights and the flights back home are limited, so it appears a number of flights are already booked.  If anyone has suggestions please feel free to call The Grand at 91-11-2677 1234 and ask for Crystal Travis.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm back in India!

May 14, 2011---

This trip is so different from my last trip to India, bringing back the twins in December.  I’m sitting on the airplane with my Mac, as random thoughts enter my head, as I head to New Delhi and Gujarat for business.  My thoughts are on my family,  Colin, Mark, Elle and Alec.  Colin has all 3 children by himself tonight, but our nanny Esper, will come arrive on Sunday.  Leaving this time was much harder, as Mark begged me not to go to India, but then stated that he wanted to fly on the airplane with me.  He is a world traveler at this point.  Lately we have been using Raj when we fly out o town as it is much easier to get in and out of the airport if you hire someone.  This also makes life a lot easier when you have children.
The surrogacy world in India is constantly changing, therefore I feel that it is incumbent that I keep up with what his happening abroad,  as I facilitate surrogacy internationally.  The main purpose of the trip is to vet more doctors so that clients will have more options.  I also have meetings set up so that clients who are willing to go to Delhi will have an easier  process exiting out of Delhi.  Many American clients do not want to go to Delhi, due to the exit visa process.  People are still having problems getting exit visa's from Hyderabad as well as Delhi.

I just arrived in Delhi and it is about 8:30 pm and it is HOT!!.  I have never come to India in May  It is so hot, that I feel like I'm having a hard time just breathing, and my eyes feel like they are full of pollution or maybe I'm just tired from the flight. .  My driver is running a little bit late because my flight was showing that it was delayed, but we arrived early.  I meet an American on the plane who happens to work for the embassy in New Delhi, so we had a long talk about surrogacy in India and the problems associated with Delhi,  he gave me his contact number  and wants me to come to the embassy while I'm in Delhi to meet with them.  We both had a good chuckle as we were leaving the plane, as we were being pushed into, by locals adamant to get off of the plane and get their luggage at all costs.  If you have been to India before, you understand what I’m getting at.  The flights feel so commonplace at this point, that the 12 hour flight from Newark, NJ to Delhi whizzed by.  However, on this flight I found myself looking at photo’s of  my family on my Ipad, as I sat quietly jamming to my music.  A bit of advice for people flying to India, is that I always request kosher food, on the airplane.  I have found that it is fresher and always tastes better than the veg or the non veg that is offered.
My dinner tonight was lovely, and it was at a country club in Delhi where I have been before.  The butter chicken, and Roti were just lovely.  We had a number of other dishes but I cannot remember the names of the dishes at this point.  Well  I'm off to bed!