A passenger travelling on an Air India flight from Riyadh to Calicut (AI194) on Sunday night vandalised cabin seats and threatened other passengers after the crew turned down his requests for more alchohol. The cabin staff had stopped serving him liquor, as the passenger, Thatethil Nijesh, was too inebriated, said airline sources.
Even after the crew told him that he was too drunk to handle more alcohol, the passenger allegedly turned wild. At this point while the aircraft was still mid-way through the journey the passenger directed his anger on his armrests, added airline officials. Despite being warned by the crew the flier broke both the armrests and threatened to assault the flight attendants and the co-travellers.
An Air India spokesperson confirmed the incident. “A passenger had turned unruly owing to excess consumption of alchohol. After reaching Calicut our crew handed the passenger over to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) official who took him to the local police station.”
Airline sources added that the aircraft could be grounded for some time, as the new set of armrests were not available. “Grounding of the plane coupled with replacement of the broken armrests could draw a fat bill for the airline,” said a senior AI official requesting anonymity.
Sources in the cabin crew union said that the situation could have been fatal, as the flight did not have adequate flight attendants. “It became a daunting task for the crew to handle such a violent traveller and perform other service duties,” said a union member requesting anonymity. This was the second case of drunken fliers’ ruckus on board international flights from India in a span of less than a week.
On April 23, a women traveller from Mumbai had complained about being allegedly harassed by an inebriated co-traveller seated behind her.