The Amhedabad-bound SpiceJet flight from Goa, which was diverted to Mumbai to offload an unwell passenger had been facing air conditioning problems even before it reached Goa from Bangalore.
According to passengers on board the Bangalore-Goa-Ahmedabad flight, problem with the air-conditioners started soon after the flight took off from Bangalore. The flight was scheduled to travel to Goa, then to Ahmedabad and thereafter to Kolkata.
“The aircraft was stuffy when we boarded at Goa. Passengers from Bangalore were also complaining about the same,” said Sahil Patel, a passenger on the flight.
Passengers further allege that the crew refused to do anything about it. “One of the flight attendants said, Hindustan mein rehna hai to yeh sab sehna padega (You have to bear with these things in India),” alleged Patel.
Enraged by the comment, almost 100 passengers stepped off the aircraft and staged a protest on the tarmac of the Dabolim airport in Goa. Subsequently, the airline called the Central Industrial Security Force to control the angry crowd that was shouting slogans of ‘Spicejet hai! hai!’
The plane took off from Goa after passengers were assured that the air-conditioner would start working after take off.
But the problem was not rectified and led to a passenger feeling ill due to suffocation.
Faulty air-conditioning has become a common problem on flights. On December 21, passengers aboard a Chennai-bound Air India flight created a ruckus because the air-conditioner stopped working. The commander decided to suspend the flight.
The Air Passenger Association of India (APAI), a passenger body, has received several complaints about faulty air conditioning on domestic flights.
“The complaints are mainly against low-cost carriers,” said Sudhakar Reddy, national president, APAI.
He added: “Complainants allege that budget carriers switch off the air-conditioner until take-off.”