BENGALURU/NEW DELHI: The spat between an Air India pilot and a steward on the Bengaluru-Kolkata flight AI 772 over washing the former’s lunch box has prompted the airline to consider banning pilots from bringing their own food on board an aircraft.“The management has taken serious note of this incident that happened inside the aircraft on Monday. We will soon ask pilots to not bring their own food on flights,” said a senior official of the national carrier.
Meanwhile, the pilot and the steward have been derostered. The two had an altercation inside their flight stationed at Kempe Gowda International Airport on Monday afternoon that led to a delayed departure of the flight from Bengaluru by 82 minutes. The duo have been called to New Delhi for an inquiry in this connection on Thursday.
The scheduled departure of 11.15 am was already delayed due to delay in incoming flight and it was supposed to take off only by 12 noon. A highly placed source said the pilot did not want that particular steward on board the flight and this led to a heated argument between them. It did not take place in front of passengers, the source stressed.
The steward was deplaned and a replacement staffer was asked to rush. “It was unfortunate that the back-up staffer we usually have took ill earlier in the day. So, one of our staffers had to rush from Yelahanka,” an official said. The flight finally took off at 1.22 pm. A technical snag was cited as the reason for the delay to passengers.
The pilot is the commander and is usually not deplaned unless in extreme cases and hence he was penalised after reaching the destination. After the flight reached Kolkata, both the pilot and steward were taken off duties and an inquiry ordered. Earlier, on March 27, Air India had instructed its pilots to not order special meals for themselves during flights as they are required to adhere to a “meal schedule laid down by the company”.
Sparring on board
The pilot of Bengaluru-Kolkata flight asked the crew member to wash his lunch box, which led to a heated argument