Passenger asleep on shuttle bus, wakes up hours later in a locked bus to discover that the airline took off without checking whether he or she is on board

Passenger asleep on shuttle bus, wakes up hours later in a locked bus to discover that the airline took off without checking whether he or she is on board

Mumbai, June10: It may sound hard to believe that a passenger sleeps on the shuttle taking him to his flight and then waking up hours later in a locked bus to discover that the airline took off without checking whether he or she is on board. But this is precisely what happened at Mumbai airport last Sunday (June 4) with a person who was supposed to fly IndiGo flight 6E 799 to Bengaluru.

According to sources, the flyer boarded the bus from CSIA’s terminal 1 at about 6.30 pm. He possibly sat on the last row of seats in the IndiGo shuttle and then went off to sleep.

All Bengaluru-bound passengers got off the bus, except him. After sensing that everyone had got off the shuttle, the driver — without noticing the sleeping passenger — took the bus to the maintenance area for parking and locked it there. About six hours later when another driver came to operate the bus for more ferries, he discovered the locked-in passenger.

The driver then informed the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) control room around midnight, which is responsible for airport security. Sources say after being ‘rescued’, the passenger told authorities that he woke up four to five hours after boarding the bus and then was looking for some to let him out of the shuttle.

“The biggest lapse is that the airline did not discover that a person who had left the terminal for the aircraft had not boarded the same and that the flight took off without him. This is the reason why boarding cards are scanned at terminal gates and then boarding card stubs are torn at aircraft entry point (either ladder or aerobridge). Airlines are supposed to tally that everyone who is supposed to be on the plane has boarded,” said a source.

IndiGo did not comment on this alleged lapse. The local police and Bureau for Civil Aviation Security were immediately informed about this unprecedented incident. The CISF has asked all airlines, including IndiGo, to ensure such a thing does not happen again as there is a standard protocol to be followed for over three decades.

In 1982, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security had not been set up then) had made a rule that airline personnel will tear stub, or a part, of boarding card of passengers at aircraft entry point and keep the same. The idea was to reconcile that all flyers who had checked in and then left the terminal for the plane had actually boarded the same. And to look for missing passengers in case of any difference.

 In fact, this is known as “mandatory stub retention policy”. Airlines have to keep stubs of all domestic flights for 24 hours and hand over the stubs of international passengers’ boarding cards to immigration authorities.
Recently, the BCAS allowed airlines to do reconciliation of passengers digitally as airlines had been requesting to do away with stub retention due to the sharp rise in number of flights and passengers.
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