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Passenger Hits Indigo Pilot Over Flight Delay, Deplaned

| Updated: January 15, 2024 16:27

A pilot of a Delhi-Goa Indigo flight was reportedly slapped by an angry passenger over an indordinate delay. The pilot, who was making an announcement about the flight status in the passenger cabin, was attacked around 1 pm on flight 6E-2175, which was scheduled to depart at 7:40 am but eventually left at 6 pm.

Delhi and parts of North India experienced poor weather through Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers at airports.

A clip uploaded on Instagram shows an IndiGo pilot in the passenger cabin making an announcement when a passenger in a yellow hoodie, seated in 28F, runs up the aisle and hits him. As the pilot retreats towards the cockpit, a female flight attendant next to him pushes the unruly passenger away, warning him against assaulting the crew.

The passenger is heard saying, “Chalana hai to chala, nahi to mat chala, khol de,” which translates to “If you want to operate the flight, do so; otherwise, don’t and open the aircraft door.”

Another clip shows the unruly passenger and a female co-passenger being deplaned by CISF personnel. After stepping off the ramp from the aft section of the aircraft, the unruly passenger is seen apologising to a personnel member.

Sources say an investigation into the incident has begun. In addition to a police investigation, the airline will conduct an inquiry under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), Section 3 – Air Transport, Series M, Part VI, titled “Handling of Unruly/Disruptive Passengers.”

A complaint of unruly behavior filed by the pilot-in-command is referred to an Internal Committee constituted by the airline. This Committee must decide within 30 days on the category level of the unruly passenger and the duration of the flying ban, as per the provisions of the CAR. Pending the Committee’s decision, the airline may ban the passenger from flying for up to 30 days. The decision of the Internal Committee is binding on the airline concerned. If the Committee fails to reach a decision within 30 days, the passenger is free to fly.

A statement from IndiGo is awaited.

Former airline executive Capt. Shakti Lumba tweeted, “Why do IndiGo pilots make announcements from the cabin? If it is a flight operations policy, it should be stopped. If it’s being done as a public relations exercise, it should be stopped.”

Air safety expert Capt. Amit Singh tweeted, “From a security perspective, the cockpit door must be locked when the cabin door is locked. The threat from disruptive passengers increases with delays and hours of wait in closed claustrophobic spaces. Arrest the passenger for what he has done; don’t take the incident lightly.”

Passengers expressed different views. @venkat1962 tweeted, “Locking people inside for more than 30 minutes is a form of human rights torture. If the plane is delayed, open the door and let people go back to the airport.”

Another user, Vibhor V, tweeted, “Both airlines and passengers are at fault here. X (formerly Twitter) is full of complaints against IndiGo for not communicating delays and status correctly, taking passengers for a ride. On the other hand, no amount of frustration gives anyone the right to physically assault someone. That’s criminal.”

Vijay Jayaraman posted, “If you are unhappy with the airline, don’t fly with it. Not giving them your business is the best punishment you can give.”

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