National carrier Air India opened bookings for approximately 300 flights to several countries, including the UK and USA, between June 10 and July 1 as part of the Phase-3 of the Vande Bharat Mission. This resulted in "overwhelming" demand from travellers as the official Air India website got six crore hits during the first two hours of opening of the booking, the airline stated.
The national carrier opened its bookings for the Phase-3 of the Vande Bharat Mission at 5 pm on Friday and it tweeted at 06:08 pm: "Demand for seats from India on flights planned under Vande Bharat-3 is overwhelming. Sectors/ flights are being opened in a systematic manner for booking on the website."
#FlyAI: Demand for seats from India on flights planned under Mission Vande Bharat-3 is overwhelming. Sectors/ Flights are being opened in systematic manner for booking, on the website.— Air India (@airindiain) June 5, 2020
While receiving six crore hits on its website was great news for Air India, things weren't so upbeat for the users as some of them took to social media to vent their anger. Their grievance was the website did not function properly during the first few hours of opening when most flights got sold out.
A user by the name, Vikas Jain, wrote on Twitter, "Air India site not responding as usual, seriously how should we go back!!!"
Another user wrote, "Waited for 30 minutes and kept getting this for all the flight services. Pathetic service!" He also tagged the Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in this tweet.
Under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India and subsidiary Air India Express began operating international flights from May 7 to repatriate stranded Indians from abroad. The first phase of this mission was from May 7 to May 16, post which the second phase kickstarted. According to news agency PTI, the national carrier operated a total of 423 inbound international flights under this mission, repatriating 58,867 Indian citizens back to the country.
With PTI inputs