After affected passengers raised an unusual mix-up at Bhopal airport on March 27, an airline official said that a ticketing error caused Air India to book customers for a flight that didn't even exist, and then quickly arrange for a flight to fix the mistakes and avoid further inconvenience to flyers.
After the company's reservation system and website listed it as an option, the customers purchased tickets for Air India flight AI 481, which goes from Delhi to Bhopal and then on to Pune. The flight, however, was not planned for that day and was supposed to fly the route the next day.
When passengers began arriving at the Delhi and Bhopal airports on Sunday, the airline realised its mistake. The former national airline, which is now controlled by the Tata Group, subsequently arranged for a plane to leave Delhi at midday as AI 481, carrying six passengers. It was unclear why the aircraft had such a low occupancy rate or whether some of the customers who had initially booked on AI481 had been rebooked on other flights to the very same destinations.
The AI481 flight covers the Delhi-Bhopal-Pune (and return) route. According to an official, the AI481 operated four times a week through March 26 and has been rescheduled as of Monday. The schedule, however, was not modified on the website, therefore the flight remained available for booking.