Passengers on an AirAsia flight who refused to deplane after a four-hour delay were allegedly driven off the aircraft when crew members turned the AC on full blast.
The flight was scheduled to fly from Kolkata to Bagdogra in India Tuesday, but was delayed due to technical issues, the India Times reports.
“The flight was scheduled to depart at 9 a.m. and was initially delayed by 30 minutes. After boarding, we kept sitting inside the aircraft for one-and-a-half hours with no food or water at all,” Dipankar Ray, a passenger onboard the flight said, per the Times.
Ray said the captain then announced, without further explanation, that everyone would need to deplane.
“When passengers refused to deboard due to heavy rains outside, the captain put the air-conditioning blower on full blast to hound the passengers out. It created a scary scene as heavy fog was created inside the plane and it was very suffocating,” Ray said.
He also shared a video of the bizarre scene on Facebook, writing, “This is the way Aviation industry work in India. This AirAsia service was [particularly] scary…”
The airline confirmed the four-and-a-half-hour delay, stating it was due to a “technical requirement.”
“AirAsia regrets the inconvenience caused to guests on account of this disruption and would like to reinstate that the airline always prioritizes safety above all,” the company said in a statement to the Times.
It also addressed what appears to be steam inside the aircraft seen in Ray’s video, noting that it was simply the condensed air blowing around and wasn’t dangerous to anyone onboard.
“This is a normal occurrence onboard all aircraft when the air conditioning is operated in high humidity conditions,” the statement said.
AirAsia told NDTV that passengers were provided refreshments and alternative travel arrangements, but Ray said the airport wouldn’t provide the food that was promised.
“When we reached the food court, they refused us. There was no communication from AirAsia at all. We had to pay. When we were boarding the flight second time, then they gave us one sandwich and a 250 ml water bottle. This is an unacceptable treatment,” he told NDTV.