Air India flight crew grounded for letting colleague sleep on floor in galley of 1st class

NEW DELHI,Oct20: Air India has grounded three crew members, including two airhostesses, for letting a colleague from some other department sleep on the floor of the galley in first class while the aircraft was winging its way from New York to Delhi last week. Some first class passengers noticed the man sleeping in the galley of the roomy Boeing 777 for quite some time when they went to the lavatory. On arrival in Delhi, they complained to the airline chief Ashwani Lohani who then took prompt disciplinary action.

“The episode happened sometime last week on AI 102. The flight was completely full and there was not a single vacant seat in economy, business or first class. One of our employees was on leave and travelling on staff ticket back to Delhi. Staff is given seats on flights only subject to availability and not by denying seat to a revenue passenger,” said an AI official.

The employee then managed to convince airline check-in staff on ground that he will be happy doing the 15-hour flight from JFK to Delhi on the crew jump seat in the front end of the plane, who acceded to his request. These seats are occupied by cabin crew during take-off and landing.

The flight took off in the afternoon and the employee obviously got tired sitting on the cramped jump seat — it has to be kept pressed with the legs to prevent it from folding up.

 “A few hours into the flight when the first round of service was over and cabin lights were dimmed to let guests rest, the tired employee lay down on the floor in the front end to stretch his legs (the place where crew prepares meals service trays). But soon he fell fast asleep. A few first-class guests noticed this while going to the loo,” said the source.
Unfortunately for the crew on board, some of these passengers knew AI chairman Ashwani Lohani, a veteran of the tourism and hospitality industry of India who is famous for turning around sick public sector units. “When Lohani was informed of this, he was furious and asked the crew to be grounded immediately. Two airhostesses and one other crew member were grounded,” said sources.
On Wednesday, Lohani summoned the entire crew of this flight to his office. Adopting his carrot-and-stick policy that has endeared him to employees, Lohani asked them never to repeat this mistake and accepted their apology following which they were put back on flying duty. “The cabin crew is not supposed to allow such things (letting anyone sleep on floor). We are investigating this issue to ensure that such a thing is never repeated,” Lohani said.
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