IndiGo flight returns to airport after crew spots overbooked passenger standing at the back | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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IndiGo flight returns to airport after crew spots overbooked passenger standing at the back

May 22, 2024 01:15 AM IST

The incident took place around 7.50am after a crew member noticed a male passenger standing at the rear end of the aircraft when flight 6E 6543 was taxiing

An IndiGo flight, operating from Mumbai to Varanasi, on Tuesday was forced to return to the aerobridge at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International airport (CSMIA) after the crew spotted an overbooked passenger just before take-off.

Airlines generally overbook to limit the possibility of a flight departing with empty seats. (Bloomberg File Photo)
Airlines generally overbook to limit the possibility of a flight departing with empty seats. (Bloomberg File Photo)

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The incident took place around 7.50am after a crew member noticed a male passenger standing at the rear end of the aircraft when flight 6E 6543 was taxiing.

“It was then that the crew alerted the pilot and the flight had to return to the terminal,” Sandeep Pandey, one of the passengers, said.

Airlines generally overbook to limit the possibility of a flight departing with empty seats.

Another passenger Akhilesh Chaubey, who was heading to Varanasi on a work trip, said, “The flight returned to the bay and the passenger was offloaded. The airline then checked the cabin baggage of all passengers on board before proceeding with the take-off after a delay of at least an hour,” he said.

According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, the aircraft took off at 8.41am.

“There was an error during the passenger boarding process of 6E 6543 from Mumbai to Varanasi, wherein a standby passenger was allotted a seat reserved for a confirmed passenger. The error was noticed prior to the departure of the aircraft, and the standby passenger was de-boarded. This led to a slight delay in the departure of the aircraft. IndiGo will take all measures to strengthen its operational processes and regrets the inconvenience caused to customers,” an airline spokesperson said.

Amit Mishra, another passenger on the same flight, said that they landed in Varanasi at around 10.30am. “To catch a flight of 7.50am, one needs to be at the airport by 6.30am at the latest if one does not have a check-in bag. Such delays due to the airline’s illegal motives need to be taken up by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.”

The airline later clarified that the passenger who was de-boarded was an IndiGo staff who was flying SLT (staff leisure travel). SLT is IndiGo's policy allowing its staff to get discounted air tickets. Travel under this policy is on a space available (standby) basis only, and such passengers are allowed to board based on the availability of a seat before push back.

The DGCA has asked IndiGo to submit a report on the incident, an official close to the matter said.

The aviation regulator has been implementing penalties on airlines for denying boarding even on a valid ticket.

Journalist shares Delhi airport nightmare after IndiGo flight delays: 'Trauma I'll remember for long'

According to DGCA’s civil aviation regulations notified in 2016, an airline is not required to pay any compensation to passengers if an alternative flight is arranged within an hour of the scheduled departure.

However, in case the airline arranges for an alternative flight within 24 hours of denial of boarding, it must pay 200% of the booked one-way basic fare, plus airline fuel charge, subject to a maximum of 10,000.

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