19 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 23, 1435

PIA and senior citizens

Published Jun 11, 2013 05:03am

MY wife and I are elderly citizens and have been travelling for the last 45 years mostly by PIA. We are both suffering from arthritis, more so my wife who is now confined to a wheel chair.

This year I booked our seats in March about two months before flying on May 25 by PK 785 Islamabad to London (Heathrow).

I requested the booking staff at the PIA office at The Mall, Rawalpindi, to allot us seats in row 21 so that we could have more leg space and could stretch our legs according to the advice by our orthopaedic surgeon.

The staff at the counter apologised saying that these seats are blocked and could only be allotted at the travel counter on the day of travel on merit. We were advised to report four hours before travel to make our travel comfortable in row number 21.

We were the first ones to report at the airport and we requested the lady to allot us seats in row 21. She told us that all the seats had been allotted and she was unable to concede to our request. She showed me the asterisk marks on the computer screen showing the non-availability of the desired seats.

PROF (Dr) SABIR HUSSAIN SHAH London


Do you have information you wish to share with Dawn.com? You can email our News Desk to share news tips, reports and general feedback. You can also email the Blog Desk if you have an opinion or narrative to share, or reach out to the Special Projects Desk to send us your Photos, or Videos.

More From This Section

FIA at airport

I WAS invited to speak at a conference in Hong Kong from Aug 28 to 31. Due to the visa delays, I was issued an ‘on...

Language on the move

THIS is apropos Amar Sindhu’s column ‘For the love of the land and the language’ (Books&Authors, Sept 7)...

Comments (22) (Closed)


A Z KHAN
Jun 11, 2013 05:56pm
Who is ANWAR representing PIA ?
traveller
Jun 11, 2013 05:23pm
I been travelling for last 13 years now from US/Canada and always PIA staff lies the same way as respected Prof. Sb has mentioned. It has happened to me as well in many trips when i requested a bulkhead seat with children below 2 years. I was told sometime that its already blocked and report at airport when counter opens 4 hrs before departure but was told there its already blocked. Most of the time you will see healthy people and will know that those ppl are relatives of some PIA staff etc. @Abbas, by the way air hosts sit infront of those emergency gates to open/close them not any passenger. Would you leave elderly/disable ppl waiting in emergency or will exit those ppl first ? Other this is that Why not to issue the central seats of the bulkhead row.
Mahmood Usman
Jun 11, 2013 05:22pm
No Abbas we should all understand and accept that for years PIA is a carrier for the privileged Pakistanis, Prof Shah I am surprised that you have not picked this up earlier. Yes the glories days of PIA of the 60s and 70s is no longer very sad.
Arshad
Jun 11, 2013 07:31pm
Forget PIA. Use emirates or Qatar airlines.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain
Jun 11, 2013 04:23pm
As one who worked in PIA (Great People To Fly With), for more than 10 years and also taught in the PIA's Ground Training School, in the 70s, I feel highly ashamed at this insensitive and shabby treatment of physically-challenged passengers! Back in the 60s and 70s, PIA was much more sensitive and considerate to its senior passengers, like the one above.
Anwar Qureshi
Jun 11, 2013 08:11am
It looks like that your kith and kin are settled in London. Still in your old age being senior citizen you want to misuse the facilities in Pakistan and in UK; you should have booked your seats in Business Class then if you are eager to have a leg space. Better now settle down and do ALLAH ALLAH. Forget to enjoy and misuse the London facilities.
tanweer
Jun 11, 2013 08:39am
what a shameful and inconsiderate comment. Prof Sabir was not misusing anything, he requested for something and went through the proper procedure for that. He was clearly misled by PIA
Waqas
Jun 11, 2013 08:45am
@Anwar: Have some respect for the elderly!
Raza Shah
Jun 11, 2013 09:33am
Anwar Qureshi , your comment is not kind to senior citizens .Thank you.
Muhammad Younus Butt
Jun 11, 2013 09:41am
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN MIAN NAWAZ SHARIF, My services in P.I.A were brutally assassinated by MLR NO.52 vise latter no.FSD/PER/P-40239/81 dated 13.9.81..I met you at Minna Saudi Arabia in 1989 during Hajj period and spoke you about my problem and you promised in the Holy city to review my case and justice would be done with me.Since then I have been waiting for the fulfillment of your promise .But unluckily no action had been taken so far.May I remind you that my case is still pending with Joint Secretary-V1 Ministry of Defense,Rawalpindi Letter No.1/350/CC/2008 dated 27.8.2008.May I request you to kindly review my case and my services must be re-instated with all benefits.For this act of favor,I and my family will pray for you.MUHAMMAD YOUNUS BUTT Ex-P.I.A Staff P-40239 My cell No.03004021667
imran
Jun 11, 2013 10:15am
sick man!!!!
Khaliq Ma
Jun 11, 2013 10:34am
your comment give away your frustrations, instead of allaying the gentleman's genuine complaint you resort to something entirely irrelevant, feel sorry for what ever sores you
Mrs. Shah
Jun 11, 2013 03:52pm
I am not a news paper person but reading about the deteriorating national airline to the point that it is loosing business worldwide. I went through the same experince last October from New York to Lahore.Exact same situation, senior citizen,in wheelchair, arrived 4 hours earlier at JFK ,even before the PIA counters were open. First passenger to check-in, requested for a better seat in an aisle for easy access but was given the last seat 75 in the corner with a huge man next to me.Same lame excuse, whereas the PIA's staff all get upgraded to business class. We forget "What you are today ,I was yesterday, What I am today, you shall be tomorrow."Good luck to all.
ali
Jun 11, 2013 09:40am
Mr Anwar....your thoughts are a sad reflection of the society we live in.....and this is exactly what is wrong with us.....the article had nothing to do with london facilities or business class....if someones kith or kin are settles in london, why should our thoughts show so much distress and frustration about it.....age does matter....and the passengers needs are to be treated with dignity, esp. by our own national carrier.
Agha Asad Raza
Jun 12, 2013 02:51am
Anwar Qureshi may God give you health, but IF He decides to take it away....then I pray you suffer! A senior citizen ought to be respected and given due care!!
Ameeds
Jun 11, 2013 01:15pm
Sadly, not many Pakistanis get the opportunity to travel abroad, thus strange comments about the booking business class. I live in Belgium and in case I need to travel abroad while being sick, I can still request the air line to pick me up and organize assistance (while travelling in economy). But that is something called customer service, which your letter suggests that PIA is certainly not aware of.
Agha Ata
Jun 11, 2013 01:33pm
Anwar Qureshi, Shame on you. yours is the type who are running PIA. This is an embarrassing example of carelessness, indifference and bigotry. It is also lack of business ethics, common courtesy, and total lack of an international spirit to run any business globally. I wonder, what would you feel if they wre your parents. I am shocked, and so will all the commentators.
Aamir
Jun 11, 2013 01:34pm
Very abusive comments from you Anwar. No matter someone comes from London or any other world, if PIA staff cannot offer requested seats, they should say so directly and do not make the passengers waste their time by coming four hours earlier. This is not a matter of facility, it is a matter of integrity. The staff of PIA lied. Airlines, all around the world, offer seat selection. This is not a facility for UK airlines only. Even PIA offers seat selection. So where is the misuse part in this request ?????????? Asking for a particular seat number, how come it makes a misuse of facilities ????????? Particular seats can be booked not only in Business but also in economy class even on PIA flights, since the are also using standard Boeing and Airbus aircraft that come with seats having seat numbers........ you might be mistaken that PIA is still using world war II style aircraft.
Agha Ata
Jun 11, 2013 02:37pm
That is rediculous. You mean the passengers on these seats have to get up and help other passengers to go out? I have traveled many times with my wife on these seats. If women can sit on these seats, anyone can sit there.
Syed Ahmed
Jun 11, 2013 01:46pm
@Anwar Qureshi. An irresponsible suggestion. As a matter of good business practice, the PIA could have accommodated the learned couple in Economy Plus or a higher class, gratis. PIA usually entertains blue eyed people.
Abbas
Jun 11, 2013 02:20pm
Hi. Please note that these seats are usually given to fit and abled passengers as these are Emergency exit seats. In case of Emergency you will have to open the doors and lead people out.
javed qamer
Jun 11, 2013 05:09pm
I am sorry you had problems with the PIA staff. Perhaps next time you will be better prepared for the response from PIA and make alternate arrangements i.e. fly some other airline. Good luck