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Passengers On a Delayed Air India Flight Threatened to Break the Flight Deck Door Down, Manhandled Crew

Passengers On a Delayed Air India Flight Threatened to Break the Flight Deck Door Down, Manhandled Crew

Air India Sacks Flight Attendants After All Four Crew Members on the Same Flight Call Sick

Passengers on a heavily delayed Air India flight from Delhi to Mumbai allegedly threatened to break down the door to the flight deck, manhandled cabin crew and tried to open an emergency exit after their Boeing 747-400 was stuck on the tarmac for nearly seven hours.  Video has emerged of passengers gathering at the door to the flight deck, berating crew members and arguing amongst themselves as the delay dragged on (and on).

A spokesperson for Air India said the aircraft had developed a “technical snag” that forced it to return to the gate area.  It’s not immediately clear why passengers weren’t initially allowed to deplane but it’s common practice to keep passengers on board in the hope that engineers can fix the issue quickly – although, clearly that didn’t happen in this case.

Air India flight AI865 was set to depart Delhi’s Indira Gandhi international airport at around 11am on Thursday morning for what should have been a short one and a half hour flight to Mumbai.  But with the technical issue pushing back departure for nearly seven hours, the plane and its passengers didn’t get to Mumbai until nearly 8pm.

“AI865 flight on Thursday got delayed as it developed a technical snag. It had to return to the bay. Passengers started knocking on the cockpit door, asking and taunting the pilots to come out,” an airline spokesperson has been quoted as saying by local media.

“One male passenger even said that he will break open the cockpit door if the pilots didn’t come out,” the spokesperson continued, saying that the situation “went from bad to worse”.

In one video from onboard the plane, a passenger even attempts to open one of the aircraft doors, apparently disgruntled with the amount of time the cabin crew were taking to open door as they first carried out safety checks.  The woman had to be dragged away from the door by cabin crew who have, perhaps unsurprisingly, been asked to provide detailed reports about what happened.

While no arrests were made at the time, the airline said it might consider taking action against some of the passengers once it has gathered witness statements from crew members.  Laws introduced within the last three years give authorities the power to place passengers on a “no-fly list” for up to two years for a Level 3 violation – such as attempting to breach the flight deck.

A Level 2 violation such as assaulting a crew member, meanwhile, could result in a six-month flight ban.  India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has apparently told Air India to clamp down on “unruly behaviour” from its passengers.

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