Call it power of the passenger or reflection of the economic conditions of the airline, but the fact remains that for the first time, a SpiceJet airline aircraft was grounded. The plane was flying from Bengaluru in south India to Guwahati in the northeast.
The reason was not a technical glitch or even the unruly behavior of a passenger onboard – both of which are not so uncommon reasons to disrupt traffic in the air.
It was quite a concerning circumstance given that this grounding happened so soon after flights seemed to be getting back to normal since the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for air traffic was rising after so many long months of little or no growth in passenger bookings.
The reason this particular flight was grounded was that an alert passenger on the flight yesterday could not tolerate the shabby looks of the cabin which was dirty and torn in places within the cabin.
The passenger quickly took advantage of technology and used his phone to take pictures of what he saw and sent them to the ground staff.
The staff took note of the images and wasted no time in grounding the aircraft before it could take off on another flight.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the regulatory authority in India, took no time to act, and the airline was compelled to take quick action, having the cabin work done immediately without losing much time at all. Upon completion, the DGCA inspected the repair work in the cabin and then allowed SpiceJet to fly the aircraft again.
It was stated that perhaps the poor condition of the cabin interior was due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in poor economic resources for the aviation sector in general, preventing investment in cabin renovations.
Whatever the reasons may have been, at the very least, this incident demonstrates that an alert passenger who acts quickly can play an important role in aircraft conditions.