Air India: blacklisted June 26, 2008Posted by dorigo in news, personal, travel.
I flew Air India only once – Frankfurt to Chicago, on August 29th 2005. It was a horrible flight: the plane literally stunk, the service was ridiculous, and I felt like we were being treated like cattle. But one single experience usually is not enough to place an airline on my very personal black list, so I dropped the issue for lack of further data.
Today, though, the data -although not first hand- has arrived. An important input, which I read on today’s online version of the italian newspaper La Repubblica. It looks like the pilots of a overnight flight from Dubai to Mumbai a few days ago fell asleep after setting up the autopilot, and the plane surpassed Mumbai, whose control tower initially suspected a hijacking but, upon receiving silence in return of their attempts at communicating with the plane, finally sent a high-pitch tone in the cabin, waking up the pilots.
The airline denies the episode, which was originally disclosed by the Times of India, and ascribes the rerouting of the plane to “communication problems”. The fact is that Air India is used to force very tough shifts to their on board personnel, and this is bound to compromise the security of flights.
So, today Air India is joining Alitalia, KLM, Cubana, and Mexicana (and I might be forgetting a couple -I do not have my records with me here). Sad news, because Air India is part of the Star Alliance, which is the consortium created by Lufthansa, the company I most often use.