Wednesday 10 June 2020 11:43 PM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON June 11: Malayalees Stranded in UK, a Whatsapp group formed by Anoop Sashidharan and Sanjay Menon, were able to help hundreds of Malayalees to secure tickets on three Air India flights scheduled to fly from London Heathrow to Kochi.
The group became a guiding source for those stranded during a time when there were so much ambiquity in Tweets and message issued by the flight operator and the government officials in the UK.
Online bookings began for three Air India flights, scheduled for June 18, 24 and 30 at 8am on 10th June. Several of those stranded were led to believe that the online bookings would start only at 3pm, based on another Tweet.
Information was being shared thick and fast through this group where some early birds started booking by logging onto start booking from 7am. Soon they shared the information with their peers within the group who immediately went online.
What followed then was a mad scramble for online tickets. However, the biggest challenges were when those stranded started logging in. It was then Anoop and Sanjay made themselves available the whole day to provide guidance and assistance to those sending in questions and asking questions.
Group members who were able to secure tickets and those who were IT savvy too like Sanjay Kurisingal too chipped in with providing the assistance.
One of the successful person who got tickets messaged in the group: “Thank you Anoop and Sanjay and other team mates for the moral support by instilling confidence and courage in us.
I was able to book tickets because of the useful advice that some of you circulated. We will keep this group alive to comfort each other in memory of Covid as credit goes to Covid for bringing us together”.
There are several those who are still holding out there to secure tickets and Anoop and Sanjay are still there helping out. Anoop and Sanjay shared some of the tips which may help others while they are looking to secure tickets.
Unlike previously getting calls from the HCI has been stopped. At present booking online is the only option for Vande Bharath Mission repatriation flights.
Some who were not able to get the online booking completed for June 24th started to try for 30th June flight. A bit later they get the confirmation for June 24th coming in. This message read: “I was going to give up trying for ticket and suddenly received got two tickets one for 24 and one for 30th.
There has been several such instances and through information sharing many were able to address the issues.
The main group titled Malayalees Stranded In UK Whatsapp has seen members leaving after thanking Anoop and Sanjay.
The duo have now opened three other Whatsapp groups for the benefit of those who are travelling and also looking to get onto one of the flights by keeping a close watch on cancellations and other.
Tanya: “Thanks to Anoop and Sanjay for the immense help! Can’t say that enough. Much appreciated!”
Girish: “Dear Sanjay and Anoop. Thanks a lot for all the support. You both have tremendous energy and quite a leaders. Continuously helping people”
Mathews Antony: “Thankyou Sanjay and Anoop. Thankyou All for suggestions, discussions etc”.
Pheba: “Thank you so much Sanjay , Anoop and Ajay for all your help and support. God bless you all and every one. Thinking of others who did not get tickets yet, but don’t worry the strong Captains (Anoop, Sanjay, Ajay) are with you all… Everything is going to be fine, stay safe, stay positive”.
Bindu Jayakumar: “Thank you so much Anoop and Sanjay. Thanks to full team. Safe journey. Prayers for those won’t get, hopefully they will get it soon”.
Deepa: “It goes beyond words to thank Sanjay and Anoop for putting us before urself, working tirelessly day in and day out to help us return to our own homes. Also, Thanking all the unsung heroes who were the silent warriors”.
Aditya P Varma:”Anoopettan, Sanjay chettan and Ajay chettan. Thanks for all your help. Would have been quiet difficult without this group”.
Sekharan: “Thanks Sanjay and Anoop and all for their sincere efforts and time. Much appreciated. Thank you everyone for helping each other”.
Kavi from Manchester: “You both have been amazing and I’ll make sure my parents pester Ajay and his mom with their thanks! Speak to you all soon..keep in touch! Time to brush up on your blog Sanjay!”
Billu Sandeep: “Thankyou Sanjay and Anoop for making this group and getting all organised swiftly. Thanks to everyone in the group for being a support for each other”.
Dr John Alexader: “Hi Anoop and Sanjay and Ajit…..U guys are such amazing people who has dedicated such time and effort on to this…I know that you didn’t have any commitments nor any benefit out of this..u both have been very calm and composed all the way through even when people were having difference of opinions…Much appreciated and very thankful to you both…it was a privilege and a pleasure to know you both”.
Dr Ajay: “Leaving without saying thank you doesn’t feel right. But thank you doesn’t feel like it’s enough either”.
In response Sanjay wrote: “Overwhelmed by all the good wishes and blessings I have a tattoo of “Destiny” and I firmly believe it was destiny that made me join this group and then become a part of it. I have met many wonderful people and interacted directly with most of you -(not as much as Anoop for sure. That dude does not sleep)
Please see below some questions and answers which came up in the group which may help those who are trying to get back to Kerala through one of these flights or the ones going to be made available in the future.
Where to look for the Air India website online booking link?
The main website to book tickets are at http://www.airindia.in/
Air India App.
Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details id=com.bets.airindia.ui
Frozen Websites and Error Messages
Many complained that the website they were using to do the onlone booking was freezing up and also just showing errors. IT savvy Sanjay Menon, immediately gets onto it and provides tips on how to monoeuvres such happenings when logging into websites and to move ahead with bookings.
Immediately the person who tries it comes out elated and sends out a thank you message to say it worked for her.
For Android : Go to mobile settings.. Apps and Notification – air India – Storage – Clear data
Inside General > iPhone Storage, scroll down to the app you want to remove, tap on it and select Offload App. If you do want to remove data and settings, select Delete App instead. The settings screen shows you the space used by the app itself and by its documents and data.
Awaiting ticket confirmation
Those who got confirmed tickets wait for confirmation from Air India
For those of you with confirmed tickets please make sure you have received email confirmation with Booking reference. Air India Customer Care said it should come through within 24 hours or less if not tickets might not be confirmed and you need to call them.
What are the chances of more tickets becoming available? Transfer not possible.
There is also the issue of the system blocking tickets due to failed transactions. So there might actually be more than it’s currently showing and may become available once Air India becomes aware of it.
Few people have double booked their tickets. Ticket transfer is not possible. Those tickets would be cancelled. This would mean more tickets would be available.
Cancellation charge is 150 GBP. In one person’s case doub booked because he was was getting error message and he wasn’t aware that the booking has happened. He is going to send a complaint to e-commerce Air India as advised by the Air India customer service person.
Air India Telephone Numbers
AI London Office – 0800 048 9254 (Toll Free)
AI India Office – 0124-2641407 / 020-26231407 / 1860 233 1407 ( India numbers )
Air India customer care 00912026231407
Those who are looking to travel by Air India to Kochi can join in the Whatsapp group to share information.
Three Air India flights will operate from London Heathrow to Kochi on June 18, June 24 and June 30, High Commission of India announced.
HCI Tweeted: “Tickets may be booked directly on Air India website. High Commission will not send emails any more. OCI card holders should book only if they are in 4 permitted categories. Booking for all flights begins from 10 June 8am GMT”.
This is under the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission. “Please note that the applicant should be registered with local Indian Embassy/High Commission,” the Air India tweeted.
“Foreign nationals or people of Indian origin who do not hold OCI cards are not allowed to take these repatriation flights. They should not book these flights. This is to reiterate that all visas remain suspended till further notification”, another Tweet from HCI said.
Those who wish to know more about the three flights to Kochi, two individuals Anoop Sashidharan and Sanjay Menon have started Whatsapp groups titled Malayalees Stranded in UK for those who are looking to travel by one of these days to Kerala.
Anoop and Sanjay have volunteered to begin this non-profit making group only to disseminate information and also share success stories.
Those who are still looking to fly on one of these flights and for you to get advise and guidance please join the WhatsApp group by clicking on the link below.
PLEASE BE ADVISED BY JOINING THE GROUP THE ADMINS WILL NOT SECURE OR GET YOU TICKETS. THEY WILL ONLY OFFER ADVISE AND GUIDANCE.
THEY ARE WORKING ONLY TO PROVIDE HELP THROUGH ADVICE AND SIGNPOSTING.
THEY DONT GET PAID. THEY ARE VOLUNTARY WORKERS.
JOIN THE GROUP ONLY IF YOU NEED GUIDANCE AS THEY DONT SELL TICKETS AND THEY ARE NOT AGENTS.
CLICK TO FOLLOW UKMALAYALEE.COM