The 15-hour Air India flight from Newark to Ahmedabad via Mumbai turned into a nightmare for more than 100 passengers for more than two hours on Monday.
The Ahmedabad-bound passengers were stuck on the plane, which landed in Mumbai 40 minutes before schedule, with the air conditioners inside the cabin switched off and with a limited supply of water.
While the passengers were expecting to spend the two hours at the terminal, the crew refused them permission to step off the aircraft. As a result, the passengers were forced to sit in the plane.
According to airport sources, the flight was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai at 5:15pm but landed about 40 minutes before time.
The flight was to travel to Ahmedabad from Mumbai at 7.15pm.
“Passengers turned unruly because the air-conditioners were not working. The crew did not have enough water bottles for those feeling nauseous inside the cabin," said an airline ground staff, who did not wish to be named.
Senior citizens travelling in the flight were the worst affected. "About 10 passengers were senior citizens, or not feeling well. The long wait made them impatient," said a cabin crew member, requesting anonymity. Wailing children added to the chaos on board, added the crewmember.
An AI spokesperson confirmed that the flight arrived before time.
“The flight arrived at 4:45pm, 30 minute before the scheduled arrival time. The air-conditioner was not available because it takes some time to fix the external power unit,” said the spokesperson.
“Offloading the passengers would have been a time consuming exercise since it requires security checks and re-boarding them.”