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On-flight dharna after fog delay

Mumbai, Dec. 25: Passengers virtually staged a sit-in on a Mumbai-Delhi Air India flight today, refusing to get off after it was diverted to Ahmedabad because of fog.

A second Delhi-bound AI flight, carrying Haj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia, was also delayed by fog. Passengers alleged that an airline official told them to “shut up” when they protested the 10-hour wait at Jeddah airport.

IC-806 from Mumbai was to land in Delhi at 9am but was diverted after circling the airport for some time. It landed in Ahmedabad at 10.30am. Told their flight would take off only at 8pm as the pilots had gone off duty, the passengers got angry.

“All the 100 passengers refused to get off the plane. Bowing to our pressure, the flight took off for Delhi at 4pm (after AI flew in an alternative crew),” said B.L. Sarda, 56, a chartered accountant from Mumbai.

The Haj pilgrims booked on AI-890 said they got no information about their flight.

“Airline officials were rude to us,” a passenger said. “When we protested because we were having to spend the night sitting at Jeddah airport with no food or help for the elderly and sick, the Air India duty manager told us to shut up.”

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