Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Airport Welcome?

Our plane was arriving in Chennai at midnight.  Also, the forecast called for rains.  I don’t know about other airports.   In Chennai, people who come to receive arriving passengers have to stand in the street.  If it is raining, they will be standing in the rain.  They should give some adequate space inside the airport for people who come to receive the passengers.  Therefore, I have told our relatives (my wife’s brothers) not to come to the airport.
 
I always believed in CCC. Cash in the Bank, Credit Card, Computer.  I thought, with these three,  you can do anything in the world.  Before leaving California, I looked at the website and made arrangements from a reputed tourist cab company for a car (qualis) to pick us at the airport.  I gave my flight information. I told the company my flight is arriving at midnight and I should be out of the airport anywhere from 1 am to 1:30 am. I had 4 email correspondence and 2 telephone conversation.  I told them the driver should stand outside with a sign prominently displaying my name.  Everything was set.
 
We came out of the airport at exactly 1 am with 4 suitcases and 2 carry-ons.  No driver with my name.  We thought he was delayed.  We waited until 2 am.  No one showed up.  Wanted to call the tourist cab company.   But I don’t have an Indian cell phone.  I sweet talked to a lady standing nearby and dialed the tourist cab office from her cell phone. It was ringing and ringing and no one answered.
 
Now it is almost 2:30 am.  Almost deserted outside the airport with no one.   We decided to take some other taxi and go to our service apartment.  We arranged one from the airport taxi services.
 
The taxi came within 5 minutes.  All our luggage and we boarded the taxi.  I told the driver to go to T.Nagar.  His first response “enga irukunga adhu” (Where is it located?).  I was shocked. What will you think if a cab driver in Mumbai asks where is Marine Drive.  What will you think if a cab driver in New Delhi asks where is Connaught Place.  He has been in Chennai for the last 4 days only.  Looks like lot of young guys from all over Tamilnadu get a driver’s license and come to Chennai to drive taxi.  No guidance or mentor for them.  No one to give them training for a few days and show them various parts of the city.
 
I told him I know how to go to T.Nagar and will navigate him.  But in T.Nagar, we have to ask someone where the particular street is located.  There were people walking and standing in the streets at 3 am.  We asked couple of guys for direction and finally reached our service apartment.
 
PS: My wife asked me to call the tourist cab company and enquire why they did not show up at the airport.  I told her it is of no use.  I have learned what they would say in Chennai in such a situation.  “My driver was waiting for you since midnight for 4 hours.  You did not show up.”

33 comments:

  1. And that is India.What you said is correct.Had u called them,they would have claimed the fare from there to the destination.
    In air ports and even in railway stations prepaid taxis are the best options for a traveller.Wish u have a joyful stay.

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  2. Very sorry about your bad experience... Glad that somehow you reached your destination :) I don't understand why do we Indians do so!
    Anyways, TC! Keep smiling :) Happy blogging!

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  3. After confirming it over email and phone, the company should have sent the cab. Not sure why they didn't!

    LOL @ taxi driver asking where is T.Nagar!! :)

    Destination Infinity

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  4. So unprofessional. There are few services that are real prompt and drivers are courteous. At least in Bangalore. Its unfortunate and a bad welcome

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  5. Like Rudra said - that is India. In contrast I was comparing this with our experience in Flessels (France) We though after we reach the railway station we will catch a bus and go to the destination (Bed & Breakfast where we had booked) after all it was only 20 miles. It turned out that there are only two buses - one in the morning and one in the evening. (the morning bus had already left) Gingerly I approached a taxi driver thinking that he would fleece me. He knew only French. He said "my wife English" He then dialled his wife on his mobile and gave the mobile to me to speak. After I explained everything to her, she translated it to him. To make it doubly sure, he took a paper and wrote my destination on it asked if this is where I wanted to go. Then he told me the approx fare it would be. I agreed and we proceeded. When we reached the destination his meter showed the exact fare that he told. What a pleasure to have taxis like these.

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  6. Extremely unprofessional.
    In fact,you must write to the cab co and make your letter public

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  7. Only once a cab service ditched me. I have never called them after that. Everyone else has always been ahead of time. And at airport drivers stand with a board showing my name.

    This looks like a very bad exception.

    Here in Bangalore too, due to burgeoning business opportunity, people from neighbouring places move in. And they aren't good with directions.

    Wish you had a phone. The map would not have failed you.

    Hope you are enjoying your stay.

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  8. Yes, the cab people will say that. This is Chennai, SG. They are experts in blaming others. Very rarely we get continuous drizzles like we get now. Rainy days are almost forgotten!

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  9. Thanks for your comments Sarala. From now on, will go thru the "pre-paid taxi" route.

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  10. Thanks for your comments Sindhu. I think this is a rare incident. At least, I hope so.

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  11. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. So many drivers are new to Chennai.

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  12. Thanks for your comments Insignia. I think this is a rare incident. At least, I hope so.

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  13. Thanks for your comments Mr. Haddock. Nice to read your pleasant anecdote.

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  14. Thanks for your comments Mr. Chowla. Will consider your suggestion.

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  15. Thanks for your comments Pradeep. I am enjoying my stay. These are just a few isolated incidents.

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  16. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. The cab company knows my email address and the service apartment we are staying. No one has contacted us. If they really came to the airport, they would have certainly contacted us.

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  17. A sad experience... This is usual experiences in India

    thanks

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  18. Wow! I can't believe how unprofessional some business can be. I am sorry the first hours at your destination were not pleasant.
    I hope the rest of your stay at this place is more enjoyable.
    This incident made me remember of a time I visited my country long time ago in 2000. I arrived there and when I got there my luggage had been left somewhere. The people at the airport told me to go back in a day or two to pick up my luggage. I had no clothes, nothing for two days. I had to buy clothes in order to be able to change. It was hot and I had none of my belongings. Unforgettable experience.

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  19. Thanks for your comments Krishna. I think this is a rare incident

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  20. Thanks for your comments Anon. And, welcome to my blog. In your case, the airlines should have reimbursed you for buying essentials like clothes, etc. All airlines are corrupt. They don't offer you this voluntarily. But it is the Law.

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    1. What?
      I didn't know it was the law for them to reimburse me the money I spent buying clothes. I bought two jeans and two shirts and underwear. It was so embarrassing I remember not having my luggage when I walked out of the airport and my boyfriend asked where is the luggage? I said somewhere ... I don't know where . . I had gone on this trip to visit my boyfriend back then. I didn't know any better and didn't even cross my mind to ask for reimbursement.

      Thanks for the reply.

      Anon.

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  21. This is terrible!!!!! I am still digesting the fact that a taxi driver in Chennai does not know T Nagar of all places. Auto kara annas always rock, they ask for unbelievable fares but they know more than anybody about the place.

    If it was me, I would have called up the taxi company (who didn't show up) and called them names (pretty decent ones) at least for my satisfaction.

    I hope you have only good better and best experiences going forward....

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  22. Thanks for your comments Rohini. I think this is a rare incident. At least, I hope so.

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  23. Thanks for commenting again. I really appreciate it.

    Yes, it is the LAW. But all airlines are crooks. They don’t volunteer that information. Arriving after a 20 hours flight in the middle of the night and not finding your luggage is mere frustration. Most people will not think of asking for reimbursement. But if you ask, they will immediately give you the money. They have a reimbursement table to disburse money. Your thing happened about 14 years ago. If it is within one year, you can put in a claim.

    Some airlines are even worst. For example, alcohol is free of charge on international flights in economy class. Some airlines do not bring the drinks cart to the passengers to ask what they want. They will bring the drinks only if you ask them to bring one for you. Most of the people do not even ask.

    Please write to me if you want to discuss further. Please visit here as often as possible. Thanks.

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  24. If everything had worked well first time, you would have wondered whether you have landed at the correct place:)

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  25. Thanks for your comments Mr. Bhatia. You are absolutely correct.

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  26. That annoying situation! Thankfully you can turn around. If I were in another country, I would despair. Imagine how many people traveling and without speak another language well, what to do?
    When I went to Italy everything worked. That's because the man with the car appeared. If he's not, I wouldn't know what to do!

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  27. Gosh! What an unprofessional experience. Last month had a similar experience with a radio cab. Booked it 12 hours in advance. When I didnt get the cab and driver details 20 minutes before the scheduled time, I called up the cab service. Instead of acting on the issue and arranging for the cab, they got into silly excuses mode. And sent the cab 30 minutes late. Fortunately I had kept the buffer time, so reached the airport just in nick of time but not without so many ulcers and panic attacks!

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  28. Sorry that you had such an unforgettable welcome experience SG. As for the taxi driver asking where T.Nagar is, shouldn't knowing iconic landmarks be their first priority after getting the license and permit? At least you folks reached home safe, in the end thats what matters I guess.

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  29. Oh that's bad! But even I feel you should just go for the airport cab. That's what we do every time we visit India. We don't book in advance. Airport taxis are much better. If you have prepaid taxis, even better.

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  30. Oh that's bad! But even I feel you should just go for the airport cab. That's what we do every time we visit India. We don't book in advance. Airport taxis are much better. If you have prepaid taxis, even better.

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  31. This is news! Dad keeps travelling frequently and they have a trusted car service which they always use and drivers were really nice even when our flight was delayed by 3 hours. But again, not all are great that way.

    And OMG! Someone doesn't know T Nagar? Wow, that's even more shocking :-D

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  32. Such things happen sometimes, anyway now you are here you would learn how to deal with such situations, not that such things often.
    Forget it and enjoy the good things that Chennai has to offer during your short stay here.

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