AIR RAGE has become a worrying trend in travel, but little can shock passengers more than when fists start flying in the cockpit.
Panic gripped Air India flight IC884 early yesterday when a mid-air fight allegedly broke out between the two pilots and cabin crew members. To the relief of the 106 passengers, the international flight landed safely in Delhi.
Air India has grounded the pilots and crew involved and launched an inquiry. According to reports quoting the Delhi police, Commander Ranbeer Arora and Captain Aditya Chopra were accused of trying to “molest” a female flight attendant who resisted their advances and was then thrown out of the cockpit.
In a statement to police, the woman alleged she was “abused and pushed” by the pilots inside the cockpit when she refused to grant “personal favours”.
Another crew member intervened and a fight allegedly ensued. The pilots told police it was a male cabin crew member who had begun to “misbehave” and compromised safety, prompting the fight. The flight attendant’s claims, say the pilots, were cooked up to protect her fellow cabin crew member. When passions calmed, the pilots and cabin crew continued working as if nothing had happened.
The argument, say reports, began on the ground in the emirate of Sharjah, in the UAE, during a pre-flight briefing. It then, apparently, escalated to punches.