Crew spots overbooked passenger standing in the back...

Crew spots overbooked passenger standing in the back...

IndiGo flight returns to Mumbai airport

Mumbai: 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.

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.”

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,” he added.

The aviation regulator has been implementing penalties on airlines for denying boarding even on a valid ticket. 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 Rs 10,000.

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