Air India’s San Francisco Flight Delayed 9 Hours Due to Rats

Two years ago Air India discovered rats on a plane midway through a Mumbai – London flight. Rats usually come onboard via catering trucks, and rats were found after breakfast had been served on departure. And the airline went ahead and served lunch once the flight turned back to Mumbai.

That wasn’t the only rat incident of the year, and came not long after a plane had to be fumigated in Delhi.

Now we have another Air India flight with a rat. This one was discovered prior to takeoff of flight AI173 Delhi – San Francisco on Sunday.

Air India Boeing 777-200LR, Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

The flight was taxiing out and “take-off was aborted.” The captain turned the Boeing 777 back, let off passengers and crew, and the airline had the aircraft fumigated.

  • Fumigation took six hours

  • Crew would have exceeded their maximum duty time

  • Air India apparently didn’t plan for this during the fumigation

  • So the flight was delayed another 3 hours while they brought in replacement crew

In all Sunday’s flight was delayed 9 hours because of a rat.

This never gets old…

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. How is it that you never hear of runaway critters on the scores of other airlines that land, park and take off from Delhi and other airports? I have flown DEL-SFO on AI and never again ….

  2. I’ve experienced “rats on a train” in India, and I think that’s pretty common there. Honestly, rats on a plane wouldn’t really be worse, but I guess it would be much more unusual. If my choice was a cancelled flight or a rat running around somewhere, I think I’d take the rat. But most folks would probably be more squeamish and take the delay.

  3. You could have just said rat found on plane and we’d all immediately have known which airline you were talking about.

  4. I don’t think I’d want to get into a tube for a 17 hour flight that was just fumigated for 6 hours.

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