CHENNAI : Overlooking the ‘security cut-off’ time of an hour for VIPs may be an unwritten rule with most private airlines, but an incident at the Thoothukudi airport on Monday showed how hazardous it can be.
According to airline sources, Thoothukudi constituency DMK MP SR Jayadurai verbally abused and almost assaulted the manager of Kingfisher Airlines there, for not ‘holding’ his flight until he arrived. “As he was a local VIP and a regular, we always make adjustments with check-in time and accommodate him,” said an official.
On Monday, Jayadurai and his daughter were booked to travel to Chennai on flight 4916 scheduled to depart at 3.20 pm. “We called and asked him to come by at least 2.45 pm. He rudely said the flight could not leave without him and hung up,” said another official.
After 3 pm, airline staff began receiving pressure from the airport authorities who track flight movement. “He then stopped taking calls and picked up only at 3.15 pm. When we said that the flight would leave in ten minutes, he began to use foul language and threatened to kill us,” alleged a staff member. The airline held the gate open until 3.19 pm but finally let the flight depart. The MP arrived 10 minutes later and was outraged that the plane had left without him. However, Jayadurai denied the allegations and said it was his party men who were upset that the flight had left without him, while he had restrained himself.