AI flyers stranded at Hyderabad airport for 7 hrs

The plane reportedly had a technical snag

HYDERABAD:   It turned out to be a traumatic Tuesday for passengers travelling on Air India flight AI 542 from Delhi to Tirupati via Hyderabad who were left stranded at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here for over seven hours.

The flight that landed in the city at 12 noon and was scheduled to reach Tirupati at 1.45 pm finally took off from the airport at 7.25 pm with 131 passengers on board. Twenty-five passengers aborted their journey, reports The Times of India.

Trouble began after a ‘technical snag’ was detected in the aircraft soon after it landed here. “There wasn’t any formal announcement. First we heard it was a case of bird hit. Later somebody informed us that it had developed a hydraulic problem. We were left completely in the dark for three and half hours waiting for the pilots/crew to send out some information,” said a harried Uday Sehgal from Delhi.

Speaking to TOI from inside the aircraft he added: “We were literally stranded on the tarmac. The complete lack of any clarity just made matters worse.”

The flight was finally cleared to resume its onward journey at 3.48 pm but that wasn’t the end of passengers’ woes. “Suddenly after picking up speed on the runway, moments before take-off, the pilot jammed the brakes that brought the plane to a screeching halt. All of us were petrified. We demanded that the flight be immediately returned to the bay and all passengers be accommodated on another aircraft,” Sehgal said.

After heated arguments, passengers compelled the airline crew to ‘return’ to safety. “Even then, there was total chaos. AI authorities maintained that all was well with the aircraft and that it would soon take off for Tirupati again. They ordered disinterested fliers to deplane. When we held our ground and demanded a thorough check, they let us get off the plane,” said another flier N Prakash who had flown in from Coimbatore and was headed to the temple town.


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