The aircraft had to return from the taxiway at Mumbai airport as the passenger realised the mistake just before take off; in spite of mandatory checks, airline staffers had not realised what had happened
Just as her flight was about to take off, Vaishali Paranjpe realised that she had boarded the wrong flight.
The goof-up probably happened because the boarding gates for the two flights were next to each other. File pic for representation
Paranjpe, who was to go to Jamnagar by Air India, instead boarded a flight to Coimbatore after going through the wrong boarding gate.
The goof-up probably happened because the boarding gates for the flights were next to each other. In spite of the mandatory security checks, it wasn’t airline staffers, but the passenger who realised what had happened.
The incident took place on December 17 when Paranjpe, who was to take Air India flight AI 647 for Jamnagar at 1.20 pm, boarded flight AI 637 to Coimbatore, which was to leave at 12, because boarding gates for both the flights were adjacent (40 and 41).
Air India officials should have stopped her 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.
Paranjpe realised that a mix-up had happened just before take off, as the flight was taxiing. After this, the aircraft had to return from the taxiway. The passenger was then transferred to her Jamnagar flight that took off on its scheduled time.
A senior airline official told mid-day, “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 may 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.”
On July 15, Kashmiri Lal, a 39-year-old resident of Ganna Pind, a village in Jalandhar, Punjab, was supposed to go to Kuwait for a job and arrived at Terminal 2 of the Mumbai international airport on July 14 from Delhi.
Lal, a mason, had travelled to the city by Jet Airways flight 9W 352 (Delhi-Mumbai), which arrived in Mumbai at 5.05 pm. Lal was then supposed to take Jet Airways flight 9W 572 (Mumbai-Kuwait), which was scheduled to depart at 5.52 pm.
Instead of boarding the Kuwait-bound Boeing 737-800 aircraft, he boarded flight 9W 252 (Mumbai-Colombo), which left the city at around 6.05 pm.
The error occurred because both the aircraft were parked at the same aerobridge. Each aerobridge has two boarding gates; while both the aircraft were parked at aerobridge number 65, they were at different boarding gates, hence the passenger boarded the plane in confusion. He was brought back and sent to Kuwait later.