In an unusual incident on Wednesday, 110 Air India passengers were stranded inside an aircraft at Chennai for well over two hours when its pilot insisted on having a particular woman co-pilot by his side in order to operate the flight.
Reports say that the flight AI 263/264 was scheduled to fly from Chennai to Male via Thiruvananthapuram. The captain even had to be treated for high blood pressure in-between the ensuing drama.
Incidentally, the pilot in question had apparently quit the national airline last week and is now serving his mandatory six-month notice period. When he insisted on Tuesday that the roster section schedule his preferred woman flight officer on the flight, due to fly out on Wednesday, they had to refuse as she was already scheduled to fly to Delhi.
He therefore reported sick on Tuesday. On the next day however, when he reported for duty, he again insisted on being accompanied by the same woman flight officer following which the airline had no option but to give in.
The end-result was that the flight which was scheduled to take off at 7 am could depart only at 9.13 am with the passengers being made to wait for no fault of theirs.