How does a 6 am flight take off 45 minutes late?

On Wednesday, I was taking the 6 am Air India (Indian Airlines IC 601) flight to Delhi. The ride to the bus from the terminal (after the announcement for boarding) started at 5:50 am. The aircraft was parked in a far away bay (took 15 minutes to get there by bus). All the passengers on the flighted were just a single bus load. The pilot announced door closure at 6:17 am. We finally took off at 6:45 am. We arrived half hour late in Delhi at 8:30 am.

It requires great effort to introduce such significant delays for the first flight of the day — that too to the country’s capital from its financial capital. People taking the 6 am flight are doing it because they need to get to some place in Delhi by 9 am or so. And yet, this kind of callousness to ensure a 45-minute delayed departure.

I asked one of the cabin crew about the delay and the response I got was that the crew arrived late because of traffic delays outside the airport. Madam, I too was part of the ‘traffic’ and all it meant was a 3-minute extra walk since passengers had to get off a little away since there was some construction activity happening. No real reason for the delay. If all passengers could be there on time, there is no reason for the cabin crew to be late.

In today’s day and age, all brands need to go the extra mile for customer service. Air India is doing its bit – to help its competitors. Which brings us to the bigger question: what business does the government have trying to run airlines? More on that some other time.