When the pilot of the Bengaluru-Chennai flight announced that they were going to head back to Bengaluru airport to refuel, Arjun Kamath thought it was a rather funny joke cracked by the captain. Except, it wasn’t a joke. The AirAsia flight he was on actually did head back to Bengaluru instead of landing in Chennai!
The flight, i5 2389, then made a second take off from Bengaluru and reached Chennai at 9.50am, 85 minutes after it was scheduled to land. It initially departed from Bengaluru at 7.20am and was scheduled to land in Chennai at 8.25am.
The bizarre sequence of events took place on Sunday morning. AirAsia officials confirmed that due to congestion at the Chennai airport, the flight was diverted back to Bengaluru. A few Hyderabad bound flights were diverted to Chennai due to poor visibility in Hyderabad airport caused a congestion there.
“All our flights carry additional fuel keeping in mind air traffic dynamics. Though our aircraft had sufficient fuel, anticipating that there could be additional delays due to further diversions and unusual congestion over Chennai, our crew decided to divert to Bengaluru, prioritizing safety over disruption,” said an AirAsia spokesperson, confirming the exceptional situation.
Photographer Arjun Kamath, who was on-board the flight, said that since the delay did not affect his work, he could afford to see the funny side of the situation. “The flight took off on time and we were supposed to land around 8.25 am in Chennai. Around 8.15-8.20 am, the pilot said that the flight will be landing in Chennai shortly. But just a few minutes later, the pilot announced that, unfortunately, ten flights were supposed to land before ours and hence we have to go back to Bengaluru to fill fuel,” said a bemused Arjun.
“I travel a lot and this was really, really strange. We flew back all the way to Bengaluru and waited for half an hour as they filled fuel,” he added.
The flight eventually reached Chennai at 9.50am after traversing the flight route between Bengaluru and Chennai a second time.