Rama Iyer, a professional working in the pharmaceutical sector in Mumbai, was scheduled to take a 05:30am Air India flight from the Mumbai airport to Kochi on Monday.
The flight however got delayed for over an hour due to a rather strange issue, claims Rama, who was on a business trip.
The cabin of the Air India flight AI054, he says, had a "lot of mosquitoes".
"The passengers had already boarded the aircraft. And there were a lot of mosquitoes inside the cabin," he tells TNM, adding that it was not the passengers who seem to have complained, but the captain of the aircraft who asked them to deplane.
"The captain announced that due to the 'mosquito menace', they were unable to take off. They asked the passengers to take their hand luggage and deplane while they fumigated the cabin," he further said. The fumigation however did not seem to have worked because there were "quite a few mosquitoes when we reentered the cabin".
Rama found the entire incident very "surprising". He feels that the presence of mosquitoes inside the cabin was only natural as the airport is situated right next to a section of the Mithi River. The aircraft had been parked closed to the compound, which borders the river. This could be why there were so many mosquitoes.
While the Air India office at the Mumbai Airport were unavailable to respond to the issue, TNM called the airline's customer service number which said that while the flight had been delayed, talks of passengers being asked to deplane were "rumours". The flight took off at 7:10am and arrived at Kochi at 8:50am, the operator added.