Several passengers have noted a new addition to in-flight announcements on-board Indigo airline flights. The announcement is specifically against tampering with emergency exits and other safety equipment in the flight.
South First personally witnessed the new addition to flight safety announcements made by crew members in-flight after the pre-recorded announcements are played before take-off.
The new addition seems to stem from recent incidents of unauthorised behavior by passengers, including the opening up of an emergency exit by BJP MP Tejasvi Surya.
On 17 January, South First broke the story of BJP Member of Parliament from Bengaluru South opening the emergency exit door of Indigo flight 6E 7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli on 10 December, 2022.
The incident raised questions on safety of travellers on the flight as well as the lack of procedural action, but Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia termed it just a “mistake”
In its newest addition to in-flight announcements, Indigo has made it clear that tampering with emergency exit and safety equipment, even “unintentionally” is prohibited.
Flight crew can now be heard making this in-flight announcement: “Request your attention please. Regulations strictly prohibit any unauthorised or unintentional use, tampering or damaging any safety equipment, emergency exits or aircraft systems. Tampering may cause regulatory action and delays as a result.”
Indigo new in-flight announcement. (Video by South First)
Whether the airline made this change in the announcement after the recent behaviour by unruly passengers or not, but the airline confirmed to South First that they have started announcing new safety measures.
“We have started the announcement onboard to generate awareness about the safety measures and regulations as customer safety is of paramount importance to us,” an Indigo spokesperson told South First.
I love how Indigo now announces that we shouldn’t try to open the emergency exit. 🤭
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) March 31, 2023
Tejasvi Surya case
Tejasvi Surya opened the emergency door of Indigo flight 6E 7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli on 10 December, 2022.
A passenger on-board the aircraft alleged that the MP, travelling with BJP Tamil Nadu state unit Chief K Annamalai, unlocked the emergency exit lever and opened the door leading to a delay of more than two hours in the flight’s departure.
At first, neither Indigo airlines nor the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed the name of the offending passenger, however, the Civil Aviation Minister speaking to media confirmed that it was Tejasvi Surya.
“The said passenger apologised to the crew and gave an apology in writing. The passenger was vacated from the exit row seat and seated elsewhere, as per norms. Details of the passenger cannot be revealed,” official sources from Indigo had then said.
The issue was also raised in Parliament where it was once again stated that the passenger in question was BJP MP Tejasvi Surya.
Not the first case of emergency on-board incidents
On 13 March, tension prevailed on the Guwahati-Chennai Indigo flight with 147 passengers when an eight-year-old girl pressed an emergency button inside the flight and it panicked the passengers and the crew mid-air.
The girl pressed the emergency button that triggered a siren inside the flight. The passenger and crew panicked for while after that the crew found out that the girl had pressed the emergency button near her seat and took the life jacket and wore it.
However, since the alarm was also raised in the Chennai airport, the IndiGo airlines staff and the security officers of the Chennai airport held inquiries with the family of the girl after they landed in Chennai. The police after an inquiry got a written statement from her family and let them go after a warning.
Also, on 24 January, a flyer on an IndiGo flight tried to pull out the emergency exit mid-air from Nagpur to Mumbai. The authorities filed an FIR against the passenger.
The crew on board alerted the captain and the passenger was appropriately cautioned and Indigo claimed there was no compromise on the safe operation of the flight, and an FIR was filed against the passenger for unauthorised tampering of the emergency exit.