Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Course Correction Mid-Air

The blog on Customer Service, was precipitated by recent events while flying. Since i fly a lot, its not uncommon for me to encounter situations which are blog worthy. But this was really a first for me and most people i flew with that day.

After a last minute gate change, my United flight from IAD (Washington Dulles) to DTW (Detroit) took off with a minimal delay. The gate change and delay was treated as customary, and no one batted an eyelid as a result.
All settled in, this small Bombardier CRJ took off without any hitches and we were in the air shortly. We finished the initial ascent to a cruising altitude, and we were treated to the inflight service. The stewardess soon served us drinks, the only freebie provided on this flight.

We were interrupted shortly thereafter, by the crackling of the PA system, with an announcement from the pilot. He reported that he just received a message from the gate agent and that we were flying back to Washington Dulles. The reason being that this aircraft was required for a flight from IAD to Indianapolis later, and cannot handle late night flying. So going to Detroit and then flying back would cause problems. So we were going back to IAD, to switch aircraft and then fly back to Detroit.

Astounded. Shocked. Bewildered. Are there other words in the dictionary, that are more appropriate to describe this moment? We had finished almost 50% of our flight journey, to learn this!! We, passengers looked at each other aghast and shook heads. But, what can you do ? The stewardess, immediately turned clueless. Well there is no reason to blame them. 'Cause they too just learnt about it now. But, i was amazed at how easily they made us submit to this inconvenience - with a simple shrug of their shoulders. And like i wrote earlier, why would they take a share of the blame or apologize for the misfortune events that United created.

And so, we flew back, to the same gate where we started. Only to be shunted to a nearby gate, where there was an exact same CRJ waiting for us. Small mercies. I was mentally preparing myself for a long wait; for an alternate aircraft, crew change and all the related predicaments that were possible. We took off in about an hour, and soon were on the way to Detroit. But the nightmare of a possible u-turn midair still haunts me. I am not sure when i would get over that.

Redemption: United did send me a voucher for $250 as an apology for this fiasco. Thanks. Again small mercies, even tho' the delays cost me much more.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

AR Rahman - Jagao Mera Desh

ARR has done it again. His magic never ceases to run out. How do you make Rabindranath Tagore fashionable and appealing to today's youth? How do you mix rap in a patriotic song (something foreign in the India context, atleast till recently)?

Mixing lyrics and singing in different languages in the same song, is not entirely new, but is something ARR himself has employed many times in the past. And this one again shows how that can appeal to youth in India today.

Prasoon Joshi's lyrics, his translation of Tagore's song, beautifully complement the song. Or maybe it is the otherway around. The finish is particularly fabulous. 

This is one my favourite poems, "Heaven of Freedom". It was also one of the earliest or the first blog i wrote. Since i moved my blogs around a bit, i think i lost some of the dates. But i could be wrong too.