Sunday night, a Spicejet passenger plane that was flying overhead Nagpur from Mumbai to Kolkatta had a passenger suffer from what seemed a heart attack. The pilot and the air hostesses, stewards etc. on board the flight took a correct decision to make an emergency landing at Nagpur airport so the passenger could get timely medical help.
An ambulance had been summoned and the ‘patient’ shifted immediately to a hospital, where he is said to be recovering.
The travails of the rest of the passengers had just begun though!
It seems that according to Air Safety protocols, a plane cannot take off unless the said Airline’s maintenance Engineer approves that all is OK for take off.
SpiceJet does not have regular service from Nagpur so there is no support or ground staff. Thus the plane had to wait on the runway till a Spicejet Engineer could check it for flying worthiness.
A plane going from Kolkatta to Goa the next morning finally brought an Engineer to Nagpur. Naturally this plane too had to make an unscheduled landing at Nagpur and then both planes had to be checked before they could take off! This the said Engineer did and each flight left for its respective destination finally – Kolkatta and Goa.
So far so good as long as we are speaking of safety standards. But what about service to ‘normal’ hapless passengers and their well being, leave alone comfort?
The 190 other passengers on board the flight were kept sitting inside the plane in their cramped seats the whole night! Why could they not be allowed to deplane and wait comfortably inside the Nagpur airport is the question?
Earlier, when Indian Airlines was the only domestic airline one can safely bet – going by one’s experience – that not only would the passengers be allowed to step out, the airline would have arranged breakfast, tea/ coffee for them too!
Acche din for air passengers a story from the past now??