Around 60 passengers of Air India's Mumbai-London-Chicago flight were offloaded in Mumbai on Tuesday as the plane was overbooked and the airline termed the exercise as an industry wide practice.
The passengers were denied boarding as all seats in the flight got filled up before they could reach the counter. They would be accommodated in a flight on Wednesday, an airline spokesman said.
Some irate passengers also had a tiff with the Air India officials as the check-in staff left the counters keeping them standing in the queue for an hour.
Hotel accommodation was offered to all those who were offloaded, the spokesman said.
"I could hear people shouting asking why the line was not moving, but there was no airline official to inform us of anything. After some time, an official informed us that we have been offloaded and left," a woman traveller, who requested anonymity, said.
In a statement, the spokesman said, "overbooking of flights is an industrywide practice. This is done primarily to ensure that the seats do not go vacant if confirmed passengers do not turn up for the flights.
"There are occasions where all confirmed passengers turn up leading to a situation when passengers have to be offloaded.
"In the event of offload, all airlines, including Air India, take care of their passengers. They get to travel on the first available flight, are provided accommodation upto the departure of their flight and get telephone facility to inform their near and dear ones regarding the change in travel plan," the spokesman said.