Royal Rumble in the Skies. Air India Style.

October 4, 2009

A Stewardess. A Disgruntled Purser. An Angry Pilot. 100 odd Amused Passengers. One Hugely Embarrassed Airline.

The Maharaja witnessed his first in-flight Mughal-e-Azam at 30,000 feet above sea level on Saturday, as two members of the cabin crew—one male and one female—slugged it out with the pilot and co-pilot. [link]


(Click the image to watch a video report)

So the air hostess screwed up in her pre flight announcement. The captain hauled her up for the mistake. The purser (who was apparently a qualified pilot but didn’t get the job) took her side. They all traded blows. The air hostess filed molestation charges against the pilot.

If this flight were a movie, we could say that this was a publicity stunt. The best publicity stunt ever.

There were unconfirmed reports that at one stage the cockpit was unmanned, as the crew was busy fighting outside. Things allegedly degenerated to the point where the captain threatened to divert the plane to Karachi, likening the situation, sources said, to a “hijack”.

And the irony of it all – this drama happened while the plane was flying over our very friendly neighbor to the west.

Ah the joys of flying Air India.

I flew Air India once from New York to Delhi. That was  to be the last time. Leaky roofs don’t really inspire the sort of confidence you are looking for while flying 10 kms above the ground.

National Carrier! National Shame?

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18 Responses to “ Royal Rumble in the Skies. Air India Style. ”

  1. Vinod Sharma on October 4, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    What better can you expect from an airline that babus and politicians have been plundering for 21 years? One can, to some extent, understand the anger in the skies. Those who have looted the Maharaja are safe, secure and wealthy while those who are not responsible for the mess are being asked to pay for it through massive cuts in salary!

  2. Kavi on October 4, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Leaky roofs ?! You are not kidding ! Phew !!!!!

    All the plundering for all these years..all the lucrative routes being offered to the other carriers, and a national shame is easy to emerge.

    Cut the rhetoric, about national carrier etc. Get the hell out of the airline business. You need a stiff private operator to straighten things up over there.

    You cant provide for free travel of the CMD and his entire Hindu Undivided Family ! what crap ! Sigh.

  3. Smitha on October 4, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    It was shocking to see this in the news today! National carrier – some pride they evoke in us :(

  4. amlistening on October 4, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    My experience with AI was mixed… was impressed with plane condition and facilities. Staff was good except one rude female attendant (she seemed a supervisor) who was put off when I resisted to changing my assigned seat to some place else. She avenged when it was time to serve dinner.
    Had she told me why she wanted me to change my seat, I might have done so.

  5. Akshay on October 4, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Royal Rumble involves a lot more wrestlers. This was more like Hell In The Cell :lol:

    If I wasn’t laughing I’d cry.

    This was once probably one of the best airliners in the world.

  6. Reema on October 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    A real disgrace!!

  7. amreekandesi on October 4, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    @Vinod – Yes. The airline has been eaten up by the gross mismanagement. Just today there was this report of how they leased pretty much useless aircraft, and then had to pay millions to break the lease.

    @Kavi – haha…its true. The roof was leaking water. Apparently some issue with the air conditioning. Thank god it wasnt a hole in the roof!

    @Smitha – For me, it was hard to decide whether to feel shocked or amused. This is so incredibly unprofessional of all involved.

    @AmListening – Some flight attendants can be pretty weird! What with the job security and old retirement age for Air India!

    @Akshay – :)
    One of the Best airliners? When was this?

  8. Naveen on October 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Air India : live, thrilling, hair raising entertainment for its passengers :P

  9. ms on October 5, 2009 at 8:23 am

    imagine the scenario-
    #1 : janab, apni pehchan deejiye
    #2 : dushoom dushoom
    #1: janab, apni pehchaan deejiye
    #2: tu tu main main, dushoom dushoom
    #1: akhiri mauka hai, apni pehchan deejiye!
    #2: dushoom dushoom
    #1: ready, aim, fire!!
    #3: this is an act of war – they fired first!
    #4: janab, today our brave soldiers shot down a dushman ka spy plane.

    and the stupid pilot wanted to divert the flight to karachi! doesn’t he read papers and watch the news? it is not all aaiye padhaariye with our neighbours. another kandahar fiasco, another diplomatic shame.

  10. Solilo on October 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    “I flew Air India once from New York to Delhi. That was to be the last time. Leaky roofs don’t really inspire the sort of confidence you are looking for while flying 10 kms above the ground.”

    A friend once told me that she chose Air India because she had a small kid and thought it would be convenient to fly something familiar. She was in for a shock when the Stewardess’ were rude and refused to provide any baby food. It was hot inside the flight and water with all dirt was coming out of bathrooms. She warned me then and thankfully I never even thought about flying Air India ever.

  11. The Quirky Indian on October 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Ha ha ha…..what a bunch of assholes!

    Btw, this Sunday’s HT had a nice article by Vir Sanghvi on the Air India strike and who’s really to blame….and he also tries to explain why the Air India staff behave the way they do.


    Quirky Indian

  12. Roshni on October 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    just when you thought they couldn’t sink lower!!

  13. Dinesh on October 7, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Holy crap, that’s a shame. Where is professionalism!

  14. 25BAR on October 7, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    the less said about them, the better.

  15. amreekandesi on October 9, 2009 at 10:05 am

    @Naveen – Welcome to Amreekandesi! That sounds like an apt tag line for Air India. They should project themselves as an adventure themed airline, for the traveler who likes to live by the edge. Might just help turn around the troubled airline!

    @MS – haha…that’s certainly possible. These idiots were fighting while flying over an aggressive neighbor who wouldn’t mind shooting them down at the slightest indication of something amiss.

    @Solilo – :)

    @QI – Very apt address! I’ll try to find that HT article.

    @Roshni, @Dinesh, @25Bar – Exactly!

  16. AJ on October 15, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    That is some inflight-entertainment !

  17. Mysoul on October 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Like you I swore off of AI. I did the “holding the ears and doing baski” so that I will remember to never ever get on it.

  18. Erinn Rafus on December 31, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I have been examinating out many of your posts and i must say clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your site.

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