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Air India pilot seats mother in cockpit: report

Published Jul 01, 2012 08:59am


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An Air India Airbus A321 aircraft prepares for landing at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. – AFP (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: The pilot of an Air India passenger plane seated his mother in the cockpit for a domestic flight, refusing to take off without her after he could not get her a free ticket, a report said Sunday.

The pilot allegedly demanded that his mother be issued a “dummy boarding card” at Pune airport in western India and placed her in a jump seat reserved for the crew for the two-hour flight to the capital New Delhi.

“When the pilot insisted on taking his mother on board, the operations and commercial departments were informed,” an airport official told the Sunday Express.

“The pilot threatened that he would not fly without his mother.”

The pilot said that his mother was sick and he could not leave her at the airport, the paper reported.

“The GM (general manager)... investigated the matter after it was brought to my notice,” Air India chairman Rohit Nandan told the Express, adding that disciplinary action was being taken.

Air India pilots are allowed some free tickets for themselves and family members subject to seat availability.

The duty manager's report recorded that the fully-booked flight, with 122 passengers on board, was delayed for 20 minutes because of the incident.

An Air India spokeswoman told AFP on Sunday that the airline was not immediately available for comment.


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Comments (34) Closed

saythetruth Jul 01, 2012 10:01pm
If this was life threatening situation, his mother was too ill and a seat was available may be exception in this case with warning only. But if it was just joy ride that the pilot should be fired.
m furqan Jul 01, 2012 06:50pm
A friend of mine took his kids to work left them in a canteen to be seen later because their mother was sick, he was fired. The pilot probably had to rub her feet during flight or calm her if he start to throw-up, or if her chest pain started & the Pilot got frantic & crashes all 130 people will die along with airline reputation and much much more to come.
khalid Jul 01, 2012 06:44pm
Each airline have their own policies regarding jump seat , some airline captains have the discretion to take commercial passenger on jump seat . I don't know about Air India jump seat policy , may be the pilot has not done anything against the airline rules and regulation.
Adnan Ali Jul 01, 2012 05:09pm
yeah! you r quite right.
mUstaqeem qazi Jul 01, 2012 04:04pm
Please note the jump seat is an extra seat in the cockpit and is designed to carry an extra passenger or crew, I would have done the same thing,passenger on jump seat does interfere with operating the flight specially when she is sick mother,for my mother no job is more precious to please give the pilot benefit of the doubt,I say this as I have traveled on jump seats when i was young and my Dad worked in PIA.
Imran Jul 02, 2012 01:34pm
If she was really sick, then she should've been in a medical clinic or hospital. Because his son was a pilot not a doctor.
Imran Jul 02, 2012 01:38pm
That's exactly what I'm of the opinion. Son is a pilot not a doctor. If his mother was sick then she should've been with doctor.
Ali Jul 02, 2012 02:54pm
It is the airline to blame. When you work in a place you have the right to take time off if your mother is sick. The pilot gave them a choice to let him stay with her or allow him to take her with him.
Ali Jul 02, 2012 02:51pm
Not really because the passenger can stay with the mother as the pilot demanded. Remember, pilot is allowed to stay with his mother as she was sick so the plane will not fly but a passenger will not have the same affect and the employer is not responsible for a passenger mother sickness. I understand it was wrong for the mother to fly as she did but your statement is the wrong comparison and the thumbs up makes me worried
Bilal Berberi Jul 03, 2012 03:37am
An obedient son can suffice a 'doctor' but not 'doctor' a son. I suggest that this is a remarkable sign of obedience for mother the pilot has set. Hats off!
G. Thind Jul 01, 2012 08:09pm
I worked for 2 major airlines in India and Canada for 42 years - never came across such bizarre incident. To me it was just arrogance. I am afraid his behaviour may prove to be dangerous sometime; he may have some physiological problem. I can bet - no matter what, it would have never happened in Canada.
El Cid Jul 01, 2012 07:59pm
O' So Beautiful...! While technically scientifically systems oriented and critical of what the pilot did, I applaud this affectionate, loving, caring son of his mother who obviously had taught him the best of human priorities and qualities. A good son...blessed of his mother and blessed of Allah. With the caveat that another more rational alternative should have been tried first, adopted. I would rather have paid for a first class ticket in advance. But I'd go for the empty jump seat if a ticket was not available...technically, and by law, the Pilot is in command.
Abdul Bari Jul 03, 2012 11:09am
Should there be comment for any news, no matter how nonesense it might be?
allaisa Jul 02, 2012 07:23pm
He definitely broke the rules but may not have endangered the flight. After all if there is a jump seat it is meant to be used. Otherwise it would not have been there. Who is allowed to use it is another matter which is decided by the rules of aviation administration of the county. Me thinks it is meant for Inspector when pilot or co pilot needs to be certified. About air hostesses entering the cockpit is another matter. AFAIK under the present security rules two persons must always be present in the cockpit at all times and so when a pilot or copilot leaves the cockpit an airhostess may go in and sit on the jump seat. Also she/he may be taking coffee etc to the flight crew.
Javed S. Jul 02, 2012 07:48pm
I really love this guy who took his "AMMA" in the cockpit!!! BRAVO!
Lakhenwala Jul 02, 2012 09:21am
I was one of the passengers of this flight from Pune to Delhi. The take off and touch down was smooth, we did not find any peculiar situation during the journey. Many times during my travel, I found air hostesses go in and our of cockpits.
Disgusted S Asian Jul 01, 2012 12:32pm
There is no conceivable reason the pilot should be excused. By his inexcusable actions, he has put the lives of 122 souls in jeopardy. Let him start driving a bus if he wants such privileges.
iftikhar Jul 02, 2012 08:55am
pilot did well. all of us should be the same thinking Maa tujay salam
Mustafa Razavi Jul 01, 2012 10:33pm
This pilot should come to Pakistan and become a politician, he would be one of our more honest politicians.
omar Jul 02, 2012 12:02am
this is not normal... letting ur mom sit in cockpit... this is not normal...
imtiaz Jul 01, 2012 09:55am
If her mother was really sick and need to go with his son than the pilot may be excuse if there was no serious illness such incident should be punish.
B.Ally Jul 01, 2012 02:04pm
Good Son/
Muhammad Jul 01, 2012 09:54pm
THe jump seat does not compromise safety in any form, Lets not push the poor pilot
Maroof Alam Kashkoli Jul 01, 2012 12:48pm
is this a news? given the cultural sensitivities of the sub continent, this is a normal thing. Moreover, who knows if that old lady was really sick.
sameer Jul 02, 2012 12:07pm
i think best approach for the pilot was to take her mother to the nearest hospital and let go off the flight for some other pilot to fly it. He could have boarded another one having a valid passenger seat for her and ofcourse himself flying it. He jeopardized the life's of 100+ passengers and i think for that he should punished. For the mother's love he will be rewarded in heaven by the almighty.
ahmadali86 Jul 02, 2012 05:13am
If i were him i would've done the same thing. When he urges for his mother to travel with him as she was sick then higher authorities should keep his words.
Ali Jul 02, 2012 05:16am
Is Pakistani Airline any dufferent?
Farhan Shahid Jul 02, 2012 04:00am
If they could have allowed him every next pilot would ask for a free ticket. moreover its strictly prohibited geting into cockpit even if he is the crew of other plan. Let the law prevails
madan Jul 02, 2012 03:39am
Airindia management should have kept pilot's mother to the care of a hospital/doctor,if no other relative was available to look after her.Failure of the management should also be invetigated along with the pilot.
Imran Jul 02, 2012 01:56pm
Mr. Qazi, I'd say the pilot is a careless son, with appology but its a bitter fact. Do you think a pilot son was better than a doctor while his mother required medical attention!!! In fact pilot son should've realized, and if needed educated her mother, that better place for his mother was a medical clinic or hospital rather than close proxity of her son.
Richard Jul 03, 2012 09:02am
Air India Pilots have been on strike for 56 days now ...very few are flying.
L.K. Jul 03, 2012 11:34am
The pilot would not have been able to fly the plane safely had he left his sick mother behind. Her presence was not affecting the safety of others. If the authorities could not get another plane for her it was the best decision to let fly with her son
Saad (DXB) Jul 02, 2012 03:06pm
I would love it if my son wanted to do such an act for me. However, let's not forget the mother was sick and the pilot would have been distracted and would be continuously looking at/ after her mother. What if something serious had happened to the mother during the flight? Would the pilot be able to continue flying the plane normally? Would the co-pilot have the expertise to fly to place solo in such a grave situation? With the kind of issues Air India has had with the pilots recently, I wouldn't be surprised if the co-pilot was an inexperienced person or if there was even a co-pilot at all.
Agha Ata Jul 01, 2012 12:32pm
Would they do the same thing for a passenger’s mother, if she were sick? But I personally believe that saving one’s life this way shouldn't be denied. Let's stop and think where rules end, and love begins.