In the midst of the storm over a passenger assaulting a pilot of IndiGo airlines following a 13-hour delay in take-off on Sunday, a fellow-passenger Sanal Vij on Wednesday came forward and gave his first-hand account of the incident on social media.
Vij is the second passenger to come forward and slam the airline after Indo-Russian model-cum-actress Evgenia Belskaia on Tuesday accused the pilot of blaming the flyers and escalating the tension in the aircraft.
The Delhi to Goa flight (6E-2175) that was scheduled to depart at 7:40 am on Sunday, encountered an unexpected delay of 13 hours at the Delhi airport, causing frustration and anger among passengers.
The IndiGo pilot was assaulted inside the aircraft by a passenger while making an announcement of a delay and the video of the attack went viral on social media.
Giving his account of the incident on social media Sanal Vij posted on X, “I don't support violence, but the airline took advantage and hid all their mismanagement and mistakes behind what the passenger did. Below is a first-hand account of the incident.”
“A series of news articles have covered the recent assault on an Indigo Flight 6E2175 pilot on January 14. As a co-passenger, I feel compelled to share my first-hand account of the incident. Before I proceed, it's crucial to clarify that I do not support violence. I intend to share my experience and shed light on the events,” he tweeted.
“Flight 6E2175 was scheduled for take-off at 7:40 a.m. but faced multiple delays, eventually departing at 05:35 pm. Boarding commenced around 12:20 p.m (after a delay of five hours due to bad weather) with approximately 186 passengers, including infants, children, and elderly individuals,” he wrote.
His tweet further stated that at 1:30 p.m., the pilot announced they were waiting for a crew member, assuring that the flight would depart shortly.
“It became evident that ground staff and crew had misinformed us. The crew members were observed being unprofessional, engaging in lengthy conversations with ground staff, as evidenced by plane recordings. Multiple requests from elderly passengers for water were ignored, and the crew members seemed preoccupied with their own conversations,” said Vij in the post.
He said that the delayed crew member arrived at around 2:40 p.m., and the plane doors closed. However, the plane did not push back for some time, leading to passenger enquiries and a verbal altercation with crew members. Around 3:20 p.m., the assistant Captain was addressing the passengers on the delay when the assault occurred.
While acknowledging that violence is unacceptable, the passenger raised concerns about IndiGo's alleged mismanagement and unprofessionalism, highlighting that the 185 passengers were left without food for hours.
He said that food was provided to the passengers after 4:00 p.m. after being locked in the plane for several hours.
Vij called for an investigation into the airline's handling of the situation, questioning whether authorities would address the reported unprofessional conduct to prevent such mismanagement from recurring.
“Violence is unacceptable, but what about Indigo's mismanagement, unprofessionalism, and 185 passengers being stranded without food for hours? The food was provided to us after 4:00 p.m. after being locked in the plane for several hours. The incident raises questions about the handling of the situation by Indigo. Shouldn't authorities investigate the unprofessional conduct and ensure such mismanagement doesn't recur?” Vij tweeted.
However, IndiGo airline has yet to respond to the claims.