In the second such case in three months, an Air India passenger boarded a wrong flight on Thursday. C N Anchan was supposed to board flight AI 679 to Mangalore but due to confusion over the boarding gate he got onto flight AI 651 to Raipur that was scheduled to depart round the same time. The ground staff did not check his boarding pass before letting him board the flight. A crewmember realised that Anchan was in the wrong plane while the aircraft was taxiing.
“Air India’s ground staff should have stopped him from boarding the wrong flight since it is the airline’s responsibility to manage and keep an eye on its guests. This is a major security lapse that cannot be ignored,” said a senior airport official.
Since boarding for the Mangalore flight, scheduled to take off at 10.15 am, was supposed to take place at gate no 41A, Anchan got confused when the boarding call for the Raipur flight, which was supposed to depart at 10 am, was made at the adjacent gate 41B.
Despite the airport being on high alert, Anchan’s mistake wasn’t noticed by any of the airline’s ground staff, who let him board the wrong flight.
It was only when the aircraft was taxiing at 10.15am that one of the crewmembers noticed the part of Anchan’s ticket they had torn and kept with themselves before he could climb the stairs to the flight. Anchan was then transferred ramp to ramp into his flight. Both flights took off one after another at around 10.40 am.
“Though it’s the passenger’s confusion that led to the security lapse, the airline’s fault cannot be denied. T2 is a huge terminal where not only a first timer, but also a frequent flier can get confused. This is one of the rare cases, but we have instructed our ground staff to be more careful while they are on duty,” a senior Air India official told mid-day.
Despite sending several emails to the airline, they didn’t respond.
Two months back...
Vaishali Paranjpe, a passenger who was supposed to go to Jamnagar through Air India flight AI 647 at 1.20 pm, instead boarded flight AI 637 to Coimbatore, which was to leave at noon, after going through the wrong boarding gate (41 instead of 40) on December 17 last year. The goof-up happened because the boarding gates for the flights were next to each other. In spite of the mandatory security checks, it wasn’t the airline staff, but the passenger who realized what had happened. Paranjpe realized that a mix-up had happened just before take off and the aircraft had to return from the taxiway. The passenger was then transferred to her Jamnagar flight that took off on its scheduled time.