Air India pilot invited female friend inside cockpit on flight, complains crew

In the complaint, the crew alleges that the captain ensured that the cockpit looked welcoming before inviting his friend in and even asked the crew to serve food and drinks inside the cockpit. 

New Delhi: An Air India pilot travelling from Dubai to Delhi on February 27 let a female friend in the cockpit, in violation of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) safety standards, according to a complaint made by a member of the cabin crew to the regulator and reviewed by HT.

According to the complaint, the captain requested that his female friend serve in business class and wanted the crew to ensure that the cockpit looked welcoming before inviting his friend in.

A representative of the airline confirmed that the crew’s complaint was received by the airline on March 3 and stated, “Air India has constituted a committee to investigate the issues raised.”

An Air India spokesperson declined to comment on this situation.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the DGCA has summoned the flight crew to appear on Friday for the first time since March 3.

The complaint says that issues on AI 915 began prior to boarding. The cabin crew went to the aircraft without meeting the pilots after waiting for them beyond their reporting time.

Also read: Air India Deboards To Delhi After Passenger ‘Harms’ 2 Cabin Crew

The pilots boarded the flight along with the passengers. According to the complaint, then, the captain asked the crew if there were any vacant seats in business class because he wanted to upgrade a friend who was travelling in economy class. He was informed by the crew that there weren’t.

As per the complainant, the captain asked her to get his woman friend to the cockpit and also told her to fetch some pillows from the bunk for her comfort. She sat on the first observer seat.

“He said the cockpit should appear welcoming, warm, and comfortable, as though he was preparing his living room for a lady friend. Also, to take her drinks and snacks order and serve her in the cockpit. 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,” the crew member said in her complaint.

As per DGCA’s Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR): “An employee of the aircraft operator who has the permission of the pilot-in-command (PIC) and whose responsibilities require them to enter the cockpit in order to ensure the aircraft’s safe operation is only permitted to do so after passing the mandatory BA tests.”

The complaint says that the woman spent over an hour in the cockpit.

Also read: Air India Announces New Salary Structure For Pilots, Cabin Crew

Additionally, the complainant claimed that while the passenger was inside the cockpit, she noticed that the pilots were not in their usual positions and went to speak with the captain.

The complainant also mentioned that the passenger was accompanied by both pilots until they reached the immigration area. Also, the captain was mad at her and made a sexist remark on the way back. She went on to say that she thought the pilot’s behaviour needed a psychiatric evaluation by the DGCA at a separate Air Force Medical Testing Station because he posed a threat to passenger safety.

 
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