Friday, August 14, 2009

Travel - Air India

Except for Aug 15, I have been (or will be) traveling on every Saturday in the period of June 6 to Sep 5 (both inclusive). I normally travel on the principle of FFin (first flight in), LFout (last flight out) i.e., I normally take the first flight to the destination early in the morning and return by the last flight from the destination to Bangalore.

The government has now formulated a new policy that government employees traveling on government money can travel only by Air India/Indian Airlines. The last time I had traveled by Indian Airlines flight to Delhi, they had run out of vegetarian meals. When I told the attendant that I would then just have coffee, he questioned me as to why I was a vegetarian and whether I could not make an exception. Some of my copassengers who were also refused meals were more incensed by this attitude.

Anyway, I do not mind traveling by AI/IA. After all, at the worst case, one can look at it as that government money from one source goes back to the government from another source. From Bangalore, you can still do FFin/LFout to Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi. You can not do that for Chennai but I guess you could travel by train. For Hyderabad, there is a flight at 3:30 am (yes, a.m) and I guess going to the airport at midnight is not always a nice option. Maybe it is time to look at train travel to Hyderabad also and good overnight trains are available. But what about Pune to which I travel frequently? There are no flights from Bangalore to Pune operated by AI/IA. The option suggested by the government is to fly to Mumbai and then take a taxi to Pune. Will this not result in a loss of money (paid to a private taxi driver) as well as the time of the person traveling?


Anonymous said...

Another example of how the Babu-dom runs the country in an arbitrary fashion.

I thought that the IITs/IISc were autonomous institutes and could set their policy and run their day-to-day operations independently. On simple issues like travel, if the government is breathing down the neck of professors, how can anyone get anything productive done?

Professor, I respect you a lot, but, I don't agree with your assessment that government money flowing from one source to another is good. Air India is in its present situation because of sheer incompetence, and competent parts of the government should not have to pull up this clunker headed downhill. My suggestion is to invest some money in performing plastic surgery on AI/IA staff so that a smile can be surgically planted on their faces. As an MP recently remarked in the Lok Sabha, "In my 15 years of travel with Air India, I have never seen a flight attendant smile".

Anonymous said...

Which MP said that? I doubt that. IIT/IISc are automonous only for research purposes and not for administrative work. they have to follow all government rules just like any other central government organization.

Anonymous said...

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