Passengers on board a Chennai-bound Air India flight from Muscat were left without food and water for three hours after the plane made an unscheduled landing in Mumbai.
The flight scheduled to leave Muscat at 11.20pm on Sunday was delayed by four hours and had a stopover in Mumbai as the crew’s duty time had expired.
Civil aviation rules do not allow airlines to extend duty hours of the crew as flight fatigue could endanger passengers’ safety.
Passengers alleged that the crew declined to give them any information about the delay and just walked out of the aircraft.
“We were stuck inside the plane for three hours without food and water,” said Raja Hussain, a Madurai resident, who was among the 62 passengers on that flight.
An airline spokesperson said the unscheduled stopover was necessary for change of crew.
“The flight left for Chennai as soon as a new crew was available,” said the spokesperson.
The flight took off from Mumbai at noon.
However, passengers argued that the airline should have arranged for the crew in advance as soon as they were aware of the problem.
This was not the first time that sluggish crew scheduling by the airline has inconvenienced fliers. On January 1, 260 passengers scheduled for Singapore from Mumbai were stranded in the city because the pilot scheduled to operate the flight was suspended a day before for fudging simulator entries.