Chennai: Passengers of a Chennai-bound Air India flight faced a nearly seven-hour agonising wait at the Mumbai airport, complaining that the airconditioning system in the aircraft was not functioning.
After a change of aircraft, the passengers numbering around 170 arrived here in the wee hours today.
Some of the irate passengers said the problem started after they found that the ACs were not working as the flight was preparing for take-off at the scheduled time of 6.40 pm.
One of them, Vidhi, said the absence of AC resulted in "suffocation" for some of her co-passengers and only after they pointed out the problem, all of them were asked to disembark and board another flight.
Some other passengers alleged that they had to wait in the Mumbai airport for about seven hours before boarding the alternate flight, which finally left at around 1.30 am.
They complained of lax attitude from the cabin crew, who they said, were not helpful even to passengers on wheelchair.
Another passenger, Santhosh, claimed the staff was aware that the AC was not functioning but did not inform the passengers about it.
Meanwhile, an Air India spokesperson said the passengers of the flight were not convinced when they were informed that the airconditioning would start working once the aircraft was airborne. The passengers wanted a change of aircraft.
"Since it was the peak business season for the airline, which is recording over 90 per cent load factor, it was difficult to immediately replace the aircraft," he said, adding an alternate aircraft was arranged and the passengers reached Chennai early in the morning.