Air India Pilot Refuses to Fly Unless Airline Sends a Woman With Him to the Maldives

Earlier in the week I wrote that an Air India pilot refused to show up for one of the airline’s inaugural flights because he wanted to fly to Delhi instead.

National carrier Air India has suspended one of its commanders as he failed to turn up to operate the airline’s first flight to Mumbai from Bhopal.

…”The commander wanted to go to Delhi. But when he came to know that the flight was not heading to Delhi but Mumbai he went missing, leaving the flyers in the lurch,” an Air India official said.

Now comes word that an Air India pilot delayed a flight to the Maldives for 2.5 hours because he was insisting that the airline schedule a particular female co-pilot to fly with him.

He was in Chennai, waiting to depart for the short flight to Thiruvananthapuram, India and on to Male, the capital on the Maldives. And he refused to go.

As many as 110 passengers aboard an Air India aircraft were forced to sit on the plane for two and half hours on Wednesday after its commander insisted for a “particular woman” co-pilot to operate the flight. The incident happened at Air India’s flight to Male from Chennai via Thirunanthapuram, sources said.

He played the same game the day before. Air India told the pilot they couldn’t schedule her to fly with him to Male, because she was already working a flight to Delhi. So he called in sick.

He came back the next day to fly and tried it again, insisting again that he’d only fly with this woman. This time the airline obliged, rescheduled her to work the flight with him, so the passengers could take off two and a half hours late.

Oh, Air India. One quarter of their Boeing 787 pilots resigned last summer. Pilots had a work slowdown last summer as well. They even fight each other. And one pilot up for promotion to instructor even showed up to fly drunk.. for the third time. Of course, then there’s the passengers…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As a grown man, I would be very uncomfortable with a stranger tucking me in…haha

  2. I will ROFL if the female co-pilot ever files a sexual harassment claim against that (male Air India) pilot. I will merely smirk if they get married.

  3. I’m guessing that the Air India crew gets a layover several days long when they fly to Male and he was wanting to spend his time in the Maldives with the lady.

    I’m curious if
    1. The pilots coordinated their trip bids to be scheduled together but then irregular operations caused them to be split up.
    2. The pilots are in a romantic relationship together.
    3. Either or both pilots are in a relationship with someone not-the-other.
    4. If the airline sends replacement pilots to take over for the return trip and give these two pink slips stranding then in Male.

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