Delhi-London Air India flight turns around after passenger “harms” cabin crew
A London-bound Air India flight returned to Delhi shortly after take-off today due to “serious unruly behaviour of a passenger” who allegedly physically harmed two cabin crew members, the airline said in a statement, adding the flier was handed over to the security personnel and a police case was registered.
Underscoring the importance of the “safety, security and dignity” of all persons on board for the airline, Air India expressed regret over the inconvenience caused to its passengers and announced the scheduled departure of the flight to London this afternoon.
The Air India Boeing 787 had taken off at 6:35 am for London’s Heathrow Airport but turned around mid-air and shortly returned to Delhi at 9:42 am, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Popular aviation flight tracker app Flightradar24 indicates the jetliner altered course when it was flying near Peshawar in Pakistan.
The shocking incident is also being investigated by the civil aviation regulator.
In an interview with NDTV just a couple of months back, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson highlighted the physical and verbal abuse airline crew often suffer on duty. “There is a degradation of passenger behaviour onboard aircraft,” he had said.
Furthermore, Wilson also suggested a change in India’s airline laws, in order to allow airlines the discretion to reject someone passage, particularly when they didn’t behave in the right way with fellow passengers or cabin crew members.
The incident comes just a few months after a drunk man on board a New York-bound Air India plane urinated on a female co-passenger, sparking an intense debate on passengers’ behaviour. The episode started being popularly called Pee-Gate and prompted airlines across the country to issue tough guidelines to tackle unruly passengers.