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Storm in Kolkata, stuck in Guwahati: Nightmare on Indigo flight

Last updated on: May 25, 2009 16:35 IST

Every now and then you realise that for all our claims nothing much has changed in India.

Like hundreds of others I boarded a flight to Kolkata from Mumbai on Monday morning. And at 4.30 pm, I am still stuck inside the flight.

After the scariest landing attempt I have ever been in, the Indigo flight diverted to Guwahati, its ultimate destination.

After the passengers heaved a collective sigh of relief the flight hemmed and hawed and came to a standstill in the middle of the runway. The reason: the cyclone had affected outbound traffic from Guwahati as well.

Then came the ridiculous part. In front of our flight, say the smiling air-hostesses, are flights that cannot leave till the weather in Kolkata improves. So for the last two hours we have been stuck inside the aircraft. Water has run out. Children are crying.

I can see a man who is probably on dialysis. And the best part is that even those people who boarded the Indigo flight 321 to get to Guwahati cannot get off. Though they are at the airport!

Patience is now wearing thin. Arguments are breaking out. The pilot says he cannot park the flight and let people out in Guwahati until the weather improves in Kolkata. Is there someone out there who can step in?

So here is the bottom line. Thousands of people - pilot says five flights are stuck at least - stuck minutes from an airport but they can't get off to drink a glass of water.

Yes, this too is India.

Sumit Bhattacharya in Guwahati