Passengers had to bear the brunt of the prevalent VVIP culture yet again, when a flight at the Delhi airport was allegedly delayed for seven hours because of a politician.
On Friday evening, Air India allegedly asked pilots of a Bhubaneshwar-bound flight to instead fly to Bhopal. Why? Because BJP Minister Sartaj Singh and other VVIPs were in the Bhopal flight. That's what the passengers said.
So the Bhubaneshwar flight took off only at 2.30am, seven hours after its scheduled time of 7.30pm. The flight, in fact, was initially cancelled but later rescheduled.
Interestingly, the Bhubaneshwar flight had Odisha MP Tathagatha Satpathy and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai as passengers. While Satpathy staged a dharna right there at the airport against the airline, Sardesai told the world about the midnight drama in a series of tweets.
What had happened to the pilots of the Bhopal flight?
Air India cancels flight to Bhopal citing 'technical' problem: real reason: a pilot says duty time is over!!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 8, 2016
Air India creates new history. Asks pilots to move from Bhubaneshwar flight to Bhopal flight because MD is rung up by judges on board!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 8, 2016
According to Sardesai, passengers even got into a brawl
And now passengers of Bhopal and Bhubaneshwar fighting on who should board first! Only in India! pic.twitter.com/0R9dSByMmK— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 8, 2016
He also uploaded a photo of Satpathy staging the dharna
Tathagatha Satpathy stages a dharna outside the gate at airport! pic.twitter.com/xrucxzvecx— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 8, 2016
Minister on board AI flight to Bhopal, MP forest minister Sartaj Singh!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 8, 2016
A statement from Air India on Saturday afternoon said, “At no time did AI give any preference to any particular time."