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Air India pilot seats mother in cockpit: report

July 01, 2012

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.