An overbooked Jet Airways Mumbai-Bhopal flight was delayed by two hours on Friday after a group of passengers refused to let the plane fly until the airline accommodated the remaining members of their wedding party on the same flight.
The flight in question was reportedly over-booked due to a technical glitch.
Flight 9W7083 was scheduled to fly from Mumbai to Bhopal for 5.55 AM on Friday morning. The flight was delayed after 63 out of the 80 members of the wedding party created a ruckus and refused to let the plane take off.
The group reportedly protested and resorted to intimidating the staff following the airline’s refusal to accommodate the remaining 17 passengers, who had arrived after the flight doors had been closed.
The scene took an ugly turn when some members blocked the aircraft doors to prevent it from shutting down. The incident was captured by a passenger on his cellphone and later uploaded to social media.
A dozen others also took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to narrate their ordeal.
The airline staff even refused to call security, despite repeated demands by onboard passengers.
According to India Today, “Jet Airways was subservient to the Gujarati family because of the family’s connection to some powerful minister.”
In a bid to resolve the conflict and avoid delaying the flight, Jet Airways offered onboard passengers Rs 10,000 as compensation if they agreed to deplane and catch a later flight.
While many onboard passengers continued to argue with the wedding party, five passengers deboarded the flight. One passenger, who was flying to Bhopal to attend his father’s funeral, begged other passengers to let the flight take off.
With the airline still short of 12 seats, around 7:45 am the pilot announced that the Bhopal Airport was scheduled to close at 9:00 am for renovation.
Finally, the aircraft took off at 8:00 AM and landed at 9.10 AM, against the initially scheduled landing time of 7.10 am.
Jet Airways has issued a statement claiming that the confusion was due to a technical glitch.
In a statement, a Jet Airways spokesperson said, “A technical glitch resulted in Jet Airways flight 9W 7083 (S2 4621) on December 2, being overbooked. This resulted in confirmed guests on the flight being denied boarding.”
The statement added that the offloaded guests — part of a larger group, refused to accept the airline’s offer of compensation / re-accommodation on alternative flights, and together with other members of the group, proceeded to hold up the flight, leading to an unruly situation, necessitating the intervention of law enforcement officials and delaying the flight by 90 minutes.
“Subsequently, all offloaded guests were duly compensated as per DGCA guidelines and the glitch was identified and corrected for subsequent bookings. Jet Airways sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests,” the statement concluded.
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