Staff Correspondent: Disgruntled passengers of a Biman Bangladesh flight to London and on the way back on Jun 28 have lashed out at the flag carrier over its ‘substandard’ service following an unannounced delay in Dhaka.
The aggrieved travellers said Biman officials had neither informed them of the flight delay nor did they attend to them during the waiting period.
Biman admitted that the flight was indeed delayed due to bad weather but refuted the other complaints aired by the fliers.
Due to the large amount of Bangladeshis living in the United Kingdom, the numbers of passenger on Biman’s flights to London are higher compared with other destinations. The flight to London on Jun 28 was scheduled to depart from Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport at 9am but ended up leaving six hours later. As a result, it led to a six-hour delay in the flight out of London, leaving the passengers in the lurch.
Several passengers of the flight have shared their ordeals.
In a Facebook post, Shahadat Hossain, one of the passengers, detailed his ordeal at Heathrow Airport due to the delay by Biman and poor inflight service.
The post reads, “6 hours delay in London but check in had to be on time. Result: 8 hours sitting in the airport. Dirty toilets. Limited meals. Limited choice for entertainment.”
The passenger on the London-Dhaka flight on Jun 28 lamented that the airline ‘wasted’ two days of his life and vowed never to fly Biman again. He claimed to have been travelling on Biman for the last ‘couple of years’.
Syed Ferdous Ali, who flew to Dhaka from Sylhet to catch the Biman flight, said his wheelchair-bound elderly parents were kept waiting at the boarding gate for six hours at the Dhaka airport.
“They were not even offered a glass of water,” he said. “Nor were we allowed to go out for security reasons.”
All UK-bound flights require passengers to go through a special security procedure just before moving on to the boarding gate.
“It was unbelievably insensitive and inhuman handling by Biman authorities. I am not sure whether my family will ever fly Biman again.”
Another passenger, who regularly flies Biman to make Dhaka-London-Dhaka trips, said: “The worst thing is, Biman never lets its passengers know if the flight is delayed or updates them on any changes or developments.”
On the complaints made by the passengers, Biman’s Deputy General Manager Tahera Khandker said due to inclement weather on Jun 28, the authorities could not bring in the passengers from Sylhet on time, leading to the delay.
She said, “A domestic flight set off for Sylhet to bring passengers of the London-bound flight to Dhaka. But the flight could not land in Sylhet due to bad weather and returned to Shahjalal airport.”
“Later around 11am, the plane went to Sylhet once again and came back to Dhaka after 3:30pm. The flight later departed for London with all the passengers on board in the evening.”
But Biman officials did not provide a clear answer on whether the passengers were informed of the delay.
Tahera said, “The delay was solely the result of bad weather in Sylhet. Under the circumstance, Biman authorities did what was necessary for the passengers. There was no neglect on anyone’s part in this regard.”
Asked why the passengers would complain in such a case, the Biman official said, “Passengers have their own expectations so there can be grievances. But Biman did everything it was supposed to do.”
Passengers have been voicing their dissatisfaction with the quality of Biman’s service for a while.
Highlighting the measures taken by the government to redress the mismanagement of Biman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said, “On the one hand, tickets are hard to come by but on the other, there are always empty seats. The seats aren’t empty any longer.”