Utter chaos at Mumbai airport amid festive season rush
Chaotic scenes unfolded at the Mumbai airport on Friday as travelers were seen jostling and struggling to catch their flights amid a heavy rush due to the festive season. Many travelers reportedly missed their flights as they got stuck in long queues at the airport. Amid the huge rush, some people claimed that COVID-19 preventive guidelines had gone for a toss.
Most domestic flights delayed due to the rush: Report
The sudden rush at the airport led to the delay of most domestic flights scheduled after 6 am, The Times of India reported. While some flights were reportedly delayed by 20-30 minutes, others were delayed beyond an hour, the report said. The only flights that departed on time were the ones scheduled for before 6 am.
Airlines requested passengers to report early
Meanwhile, airlines such as IndiGo urged passengers to report early due to the heavy rush at the airport. "6ETravelAdvisory: Heavy rush at Mumbai and Chennai Airport. Passengers are advised to report early to allow sufficient time for security check."
Airport authority blames festive season
The airport authority attributed the rush to the festive season. "Similar scenes were witnessed at other city airports in the country," the Mumbai airport said. It also said that additional staff was deployed to ensure a "smoother passenger experience." An airport official told The Indian Express that they had also "shifted some of the airlines to the Santacruz terminal" anticipating the rush.
Security was enhanced after intelligence reports about a threat: Airport
Further, the Mumbai airport said security arrangements were enhanced amid intelligence reports about a threat at another airport in Maharashtra. "The security and safety of our passengers are of utmost priority and our endeavor is to continue to not compromise on these critical aspects. "
COVID-19 protocols were thrown to the wind
Separately, officials were also concerned about non-compliance with COVID-19-appropriate behavior at the airport due to overcrowding. "This crowd with no social distance was horrible...Some of them had not covered their faces properly," an airline official told TIE. Suresh Kakani, Additional Commissioner at BMC, said they had told the airport to enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior. "We fear these travelers may return with COVID-19."
Fuming travelers took to social media to highlight their plight
Vexed travelers at the airport took to social media to vent their frustration about the chaos. "Endless milling crowds, machines breaking down, tempers frayed, chaos everywhere...Who runs this absolute shitshow?" tweeted singer Vishal Dadlani. "It takes at least 1 hour to enter and do check-in...then this crowd for security check...How can someone board a flight even reaching 2 1/2 hours before?" another user tweeted.