Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco faces inordinate delay; rescheduled for Friday

New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) Passengers of a San Francisco-bound Air India flight had a tough time at the Delhi airport on Thursday evening as the departure was delayed for more than six hours due to a technical issue with the aircraft.

The flight AI 183, which was to be operated with a Boeing 777 aircraft and take off at around 1530 hours on Thursday, has been rescheduled and will now take off at 1500 hours on Friday, according to an airline official.

Some passengers of the flight took to social media complaining about the delay and one of them said that there was no air conditioning in the plane.

“If there is a privatisation story that has failed it is @airindia @DGCAIndia AI 183 flight has been delayed for over 8 hours, passengers were made to board the plane without air conditioning, and then deplaned after some people fainted in the flight. This is inhuman! @JM_Scindia,” Shweta Punj, a journalist, said in a post on X on Thursday night.

She also shared a picture of passengers sitting on the floor at the Delhi airport.

The airline official said the aircraft had developed a technical issue and engineering checks were carried out.

Due to the delay, the crew had crossed the Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) and also if the flight had taken off, it would have reached San Francisco when there are night landing restrictions there, the official added.

The flight is now scheduled to take off at 1500 hours on Friday, the official said and added that passengers were offered the options of full refund, complimentary rescheduling and hotel accommodation.

In March, aviation security watchdog BCAS had issued new guidelines that will allow the exit of passengers from an aircraft through an airport departure gate in case there is a long delay in operating the flight after boarding.

The directive from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had come against the backdrop of rising instances of congestion and flight delays, resulting in passengers getting stuck in aircraft after boarding for long hours.

BCAS Director General Zulfiquar Hasan, on April 1, said the guidelines will help in ensuring “less harassment” for passengers and they would not have to keep sitting inside an aircraft for long hours after boarding.

In case of long flight delays and other emergencies after boarding, passengers will be permitted to exit through the departure gate of the airport concerned.

“Airport operators have to make arrangements for the infrastructure, including for screening, for implementing the guidelines,” Hasan had said and added that a decision on deboarding the passengers will be taken by airlines and security agencies concerned.

It could not be immediately ascertained whether Air India opted to follow these guidelines.

Meanwhile, an Air India flight from Mumbai to San Francisco, which was originally scheduled to take off at 1600 hours on May 24, was rescheduled and finally departed at around 1730 hours on May 25. The inordinate delay was due to multiple reasons, including a technical glitch.

On May 24, passengers had to wait inside the aircraft for more than five hours before the flight was rescheduled for May 25.

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