A baggage handler took a nap in the belly of an aircraft that was preparing for departure and ended up in a different country after he was accidentally locked inside the plane’s cargo hold.
The unnamed and thankfully unharmed baggage handler was discovered by airport workers only after the aircraft landed following a three-hour flight from Mumbai, India to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Medical services were immediately called but it was quickly determined that the baggage handler had survived his unexpected trip without injury. The cargo hold of most aircraft aren’t routinely heated unless live animals are being carried.
Sadly, pets have sometimes perished inflight because the cargo hold heat was accidentally left off.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation confirmed the incident onboard Indigo flight 6E-1835 on December 12, saying that the baggage handler only woke up once the cargo hold door was closed and the plane started to taxi for takeoff.
There is no way to open the cargo hold from the inside and no method of communication between the cargo hold and the flight deck.
Once cleared by immigration officials, the illegal entrant was allowed to fly back to Mumbai on the same plane but this time in the passenger cabin of the Airbus A320. The return flight departed around an hour later than scheduled.
It’s not clear why the baggage handler decided to take a nap in the cargo hold but the flight is scheduled to depart at 2:25 am so fatigue could well have been a major factor in this incident.
Unfortunately, the baggage handler and his colleagues who failed to realise he was still in the cargo hold have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Indigo said the airline had informed the requisite authorities. “The matter is under investigation,” the statement coninued.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.