It’s one thing as a commercial pilot to let a little kid into the cockpit to make their day… And another thing entirely to invite your boo thang in there to sit on your lap and get sauced. But that’s exactly what one Air India pilot (allegedly) did, and now he’s paying the price.
In something like a scene out of Airplane!, an Air India pilot is facing complaints and is under investigation after allegedly letting a “female friend” spend time in the cockpit during flight AI 915 from Dubai to Delhi earlier this year in February.
As you might have guessed, this breaks plenty of rules set by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), according to a complaint by a member of the cabin crew made to the regulator and reviewed by The Hindustan Times.
The complaint alleges that the captain wanted the crew to make sure the cockpit appeared welcoming before inviting his friend in and also asked that she be served food served in business class. The pilot apparently made multiple requests for food and drinks from business class to be served to the cockpit, which broke up the flow of normal service for passengers.
“He said the cockpit should appear welcoming, warm and comfortable, as though he was preparing his living room for a lady friend… [and] to take her drinks and snacks order and serve her in the cockpit,” the complainant (likely a member of the cabin crew) alleges.
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“I told him, ‘Captain, I am not comfortable serving alcohol in the cockpit’. This seems to have upset him a lot and his entire attitude changed from that moment onwards. He became very snappy and rude and from there on started treating me like a servant working exclusively for him.”Air India complainant
The cockpit of a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner is hardly a spacious place, nor is it somewhere you really want to be serving food or drinks. Imagine spilling something on the controls – or, more concerningly, flying under the influence…
It gets worse, though. Apparently, the two pilots were also not in their proper positions during their flight; they were more preoccupied with napping and chatting up their mutual female friend rather than following proper flight procedures.
“I noticed that the first officer was sleeping reclined fully with a pillow and the pilot in charge was sitting across facing the passenger in the rear observer station to chat. The pilot in charge indicated that the first officer (co-pilot) was taking a controlled rest and sleep,” the complaint stated.
So one pilot’s asleep, and the other has turned his seat around so he can keep on chatting rather than looking at the skies ahead? I mean, I know the autopilot does a lot of the work, but that’s literally flying blind.
“We have taken serious note of the reported incident and investigations are underway. The matter is reported to the DGCA and we are cooperating with the regulator’s investigation as well. We have zero tolerance in aspects related to the safety and well-being of our passengers and will take requisite action,” Air India has said in an official statement.
All in all, it’s a pretty worrisome situation. We’ve all tried to show off in front of a girl, but there’s a big difference between a handbrake turn in a parking lot and getting boozy at 10,000 feet…