Air India Passengers Faint Amidst 24-Hour Delay in Delhi Heatwave

Air India Passengers Faint Amidst 24-Hour Delay in Delhi Heatwave

Air India Passengers Faint Amidst 24-Hour Delay in Delhi Heatwave

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Passengers on an Air India flight to San Francisco endured a harrowing 24-hour delay, exacerbated by an eight-hour ordeal without air-conditioning, forcing many to take refuge on the floors of Delhi airport. The situation quickly escalated as several passengers among the 200 onboard fainted due to the sweltering heat.

Originally scheduled to depart from Delhi at 3:30 pm on Thursday, the flight was delayed due to “operational reasons”. This incident drew the attention of the Civil Aviation Ministry, which issued a show-cause notice to Air India demanding an explanation for the inadequate arrangements to ease the passengers’ discomfort.

Journalist Shweta Punj, caught in the chaos, took to social media platform X to describe the experience. “If there is a privatisation story that has failed, it is Air India. DGCA [aviation regulator] AI 183 flight has been delayed for over eight hours, passengers were made to board the plane without air-conditioning, and then deplaned after some people fainted in the flight. This is inhuman,” she wrote, tagging Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Punj updated a few hours later, saying, “The food was basic, as was the service. But it worked. Today in two hours it will be 24 hours for the passengers of AI 183. They were sent to a hotel late last night, to be back at 8:00 am to the airport, and now they have been asked to go back to the hotel.”

Visuals shared by passengers depicted a grim scene with exhausted travelers, including children, sitting on the airport floor, many having removed their shoes in discomfort. Air India’s social media handle expressed regret, stating: “Dear Ms. Punj, we truly regret to note the disruptions. Please be rest assured that our team is actively working to address the delay and appreciate your ongoing support and understanding. We are also alerting our team to provide necessary assistance to the passengers.”

Another passenger, Abhishek Sharma, appealed directly to the airline for immediate intervention. “AI 183 is over eight hours late. People were made to board the plane and sit without AC. Then deplaned and not allowed to enter the terminal because immigration was done,” Sharma said in his post on X. He detailed the ordeal, stating that passengers were given hotel rooms at 2 am and new boarding passes with departure at 11 am. That flight was also canceled, and the flight was rescheduled to 3 pm, making it a nearly 24-hour delay.

“One has to reach the airport 3 hours prior and leave home 1 hour prior. Total 27.5 hours even before the journey commences! Fingers crossed. Hope it takes off at 3 pm,” Sharma wrote.

Despite assurances, the incident has reignited concerns about Air India’s operational efficiency and passenger care standards. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has previously issued guidelines to mitigate such chaotic situations, emphasizing the need for airlines to adhere to standard operating procedures for delays and cancellations. The DGCA mandated that airlines must cancel flights expected to be delayed beyond three hours to prevent extended passenger inconvenience.