Last week a Delta flight attendant was gettin’ sick and tired of cats on a plane. Now it rats and Air India.
An Air India Boeing 787 headed from Mumbai to London turned around six hours into flight “after a cabin crew member spotted a rat on board.”
“AI 131 Mumbai to London returned to Mumbai today due to suspected rat sighting. Though the presence of the rodent was not confirmed but keeping passenger safety in mind, the aircraft was brought back. Air India gives utmost importance to safety. Our engineering team is investigating the incident. A standby aircraft was made available to fly the passengers to London. The aircraft with the suspected rodent will be fumigated as per procedure in such cases of rodent sighting,” said the airline spokesperson.
It’s not clear what took them so long to make the determination to turn around since they first spotted the ran when the plane “was in the Tehran airspace” and AI flight 131 is scheduled at just under 10 hours. It sounds as though the rat was spotted, the plane was more than halfway to London, and then it turned all the way back around.
Regardless of whether the reported timeline makes sense, it’s not obvious why the only option was a full return to Mumbai. If there were safety concerns continuing the journey with a rat onboard, the diversion either took almost as long or longer than completing the flight.
It’s not the first Air India rat incident this year. And last year an Air India Airbus A321 was grounded in Delhi after rats ran riot.
While rats don’t do as much damage to Air India’s planes as passenger buses, Air India should probably follow LAX’s lead and always have the Orkin man on hand.
Rats usually get onto planes via catering trucks. Breakfast was served after the flight’s 7 a.m. departure, and lunch was served after the flight turned back to Mumbai.
This never gets old…