The flight had reportedly already been delayed due to foggy conditions in the capital, and when the captain of the flight took the microphone to announce a further hold-up, police say the passenger lashed out in anger and hit his face.
The flight was scheduled to depart Delhi at 7.40am and passengers boarded the flight at 7am. However, they were told there was a delay due to unfavourable weather conditions.
“A passenger punched an Indigo capt in the aircraft as he was making a delay announcement. The guy ran up from the last row and punched the new Capt who replaced the previous crew who crossed FDTL [flight duty time limitations]. Unbelievable!” wrote a man who shared the now-widely shared video on social media.
The FlightAware flight tracking website showed that the flight finally departed from New Delhi at 5.33pm, following extended delays attributed to adverse weather conditions, including heavy fog that significantly reduced visibility. It also showed a mandated crew change was implemented due to FDTL (flight duty time limitations).
The captain, Anup Kumar, filed a complaint against the passenger with the Delhi police, according to the Indian Express. An investigation has been launched.
Devesh Mahla, a senior police official told the outlet that they received the complaint from Mr Kumar who said the passenger assaulted him and misbehaved.
“He hit the co-pilot and made a nuisance inside the aircraft. A complaint in this regard has been received from Anup Kumar. On this basis, an FIR under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections pertaining to punishment for voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful restraint has been lodged,” he said.
In the now widely-shared social media video, the pilot can be seen making the announcement and a man in a yellow hoodie then rushes towards the pilot and punches his face.
There were loud gasps from passengers on the flight as this scene unfolded in front of them. The man can be heard shouting to the pilot in Hindi: “Chalana hai chala, nahi chalana hai, mat chala. Chor de”, which roughly translates to “Fly or else leave us here” as he points to the aircraft door.
One of the air hostesses tries to control the situation as other passengers appear alarmed over the incident.
Yesterday, Delhi witnessed unprecedented fog wherein visibility fluctuated for several hours, and at times, dropped to zero between 5 AM to 9 AM.
The authorities, therefore, were compelled to enforce a shut-down of operations for some time even on CAT III runways (CAT III…
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) January 15, 2024
In the video, the passenger then starts verbally abusing the pilot and demands that the aircraft doors be opened and all passengers be let go. According to protocol, once the aircraft doors are closed, they can’t be opened. The passengers had already been inside the aircraft for hours after boarding with no news about departure.
The video shows another passenger attempting to intervene and bring the man back to his seat. Distressed by the episode, one air hostess can be heard saying, almost breathless: “You cannot do this.”
A passenger punched an Indigo capt in the aircraft as he was making delay announcement. The guy ran up from the last row and punched the new Capt who replaced the previous crew who crossed FDTL. Unbelievable ! @DGCAIndia @MoCA_GoI pic.twitter.com/SkdlpWbaDd
— Capt_Ck (@Capt_Ck) January 14, 2024
The video has garnered thousands of views on social media. Several commentators said the man should be put on a no-fly list while others called Mr Kataria’s actions “totally unacceptable passenger behaviour.”
— Delhi Airport (@DelhiAirport) January 14, 2024
IndiGo Airlines issued a statement regarding the incident: “On January 14, 2024, during the announcement of a flight delay by the first officer of flight 6E2175, a passenger assaulted the first officer. As per protocol, the passenger was declared unruly and handed over to the local law enforcement agencies for further action. The incident is being referred to the independent internal committee for appropriate action and inclusion of the passenger on the ‘no-fly list’ as laid down in regulatory guidelines.”
While attack on flight captain cannot be endorsed, I’m in full agreement with yr view on rigidity and lack of customer centricity of #goindigo . So many bitter experiences flying with this airline. Since, no alternatives available in some sectors, people are compelled use Indigo
— Bakul.Joshi (@BakulCJoshi) January 15, 2024
Earlier, they had mentioned flight delays in another statement: “Due to the low visibility and dense fog conditions across North India, IndiGo flight operations were impacted on Jan 14, 2024. This had a cascading effect on our operations throughout the day.”
More than 100 flights were cancelled over the weekend due to the weather conditions.
What does the pilot or cabin crew have to do with the delay? They were just doing their job.
Arrest this man, and put him on the no-fly list. Publish his picture so people are aware of his bad temper in public.
— Ishwar Singh (@IshwarBagga) January 14, 2024
The statement continued: “Our staff kept passengers apprised of all delays and cancellations across airports and made every possible effort to facilitate the passengers. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers.”
IndiGo has faced a multitude of online complaints, with passengers highlighting issues such as cancellations without notice, significant delays, and failure to meet expected standards. Many have taken to Twitter/X to share their grievances.
I can’t think of a shittier airline than @IndiGo6E - the virtual monopoly they enjoy currently has gone to their head. And how!
My son flew last night from Kolkata to New Delhi to connect to the Delhi-Istanbul flight.
The CCU-DEL flight scheduled to depart at 9 pm left at 10.45
— Kaushal Kumbhat (@kkumbhat) January 14, 2024
One social media user named Kaushal Kumbhat even threatened to take legal action against IndiGo for “gross negligence, mental harassment and apathy” after his son’s Delhi-Istanbul flight was delayed for several hours before being cancelled.
The passenger is in Delhi police’s custody now, NDTV reported.
The Independent has reached out to IndiGo Airlines for a comment.