Days after a San Francisco-bound Air India flight had to divert from its route due to a mid-air glitch, the airline on Thursday apologised to the passengers and said it will refund the full amount to all passengers affected by the incident.
According to a communication by Air India Chief Customer Experience and Ground Handling Officer Rajesh Dogra, the airline told the passengers: "We will fully refund the fare for your journey and, in addition, provide you a voucher for future travel on Air India".
Expressing "regret" for the disruption, the airline also "sincerely apologised" to the customers for the "extended delay" in bringing them to their destination, stated the communication, as per PTI.
With 216 passengers and 16 crew members onboard, Air India flight AI 173 operating Delhi-San Francisco was on Tuesday diverted to Magadan port city in far east Russia following a technical glitch in one of the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft engines.
The next day, Air India dispatched a ferry flight to Magadan from Mumbai to fly the stranded passengers and crew from there to San Francisco.
The replacement aircraft, which landed at Magadan at 06.14 am (local time) got airborne at 1027 hours (local time) on June 8, for San Francisco, where it touched down at 12.07 am on June 8.
"The aircraft encountered a technical issue whereby the pilots received an indication of low oil pressure in one engine. Out of caution, they elected to land the aircraft at a nearby airport rather than continue the journey," Air India said.
On criticism received over the standard of accommodation, the Tata Group airline maintained that safety was the highest priority throughout. "While the facilities in Magadan, a small city, may not have met the standard we would normally aim to provide, we are grateful for your tolerance and understanding that our local agents and crew did their best under the circumstances," it stated.
Air India had initially said that the passengers and crew were accommodated "in hotels locally", but it later clarified that the "infrastructure constraints" forced it to lodge them in make-shift accommodations.
The airline also regretted the long delay in providing a relief flight despite its best efforts. It said that given the need to obtain insurance and flight plan approvals, clearly, the duration of delay was "long", and the "experience was not what we aspire to offer".