A passenger on an IndiGo flight has slapped the pilot, with other passengers suggesting the incident was not without severe provocation.
Passengers aboard Flight 6E2175, a 14 January Goa-bound service from Delhi, said on social media they had suffered a 10-hour delay, four of which were spent inside the aircraft with no offer of refreshments and little explanation.
With fog engulfing Delhi airport, the plane’s estimated 186 passengers were unable to depart at the scheduled slot of 07.40 AM local time, a fellow passenger explained on X.
They eventually boarded at 12:20 PM, but still the plane went nowhere. They sat on the aircraft for another 2 hours and 10 minutes and were initially told by ground staff it was because delayed flights were backing up at the airport meaning they had no departure window.
It seems frustration grew however, after the pilot gave false hope at around 1:30 PM, announcing they were in fact waiting for a staff member. The crew have been accused of “unprofessionalism” and allegedly stood around chatting to ground staff instead of responding to “multiple requests” to provide elderly passengers with water.
When an additional staff member finally arrived, the doors closed, at around 2:40 PM, but still no push back occurred. The assistant pilot eventually emerged to talk to passengers at 3:20 PM, by which time, one passenger had been pushed to his limits, resorting to physical assault.
“Violence is unacceptable,” said fellow passenger Sanal Vij on X, “but what about IndiGo’s mismanagement, unprofessionalism, and 185 passengers stranded without food for hours? The food was provided to us after 4:00 PM after being locked in the plane for several hours.”
A Russian model aboard the plane agreed with this assessment and shared a video of the incident on Instagram. In addition to the other complaints, her post alleged that the pilot was “not nice” to passengers and even scolded them for “asking too many questions”.
No fly list?
The passenger, identified by local media as Sahil Kataria, was handed over to law enforcement authorities. He could face inclusion on a no-fly list and a case has been filed under the Indian Penal Code sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 290 (creating public nuisance), as well as under section 22 of the Aircraft Rules. The passenger was bailed shortly after.
Nonetheless, in what could be seen as recognition that there may have been more to the slap than meets the eye, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has since issued guidelines requiring airlines to display up-to-date information on flight delays to avoid disruption. Furthermore, the airline is undertaking an internal investigation of the incident.