Air India flight delayed by 2hrs after staffer forgets cellphone
In a rather bizarre incident last month, an Ahmedabad-bound Air India Dreamliner from London's Heathrow airport suffered a two hour delay resulting out of nomophobia - the fear of being without a cellphone. The incident occurred on March 18, after an Air India ground staffer left his cellphone in the aircraft, prompting the possibly nomophobic captain to delay the already-taxiing flight. Here's what unfolded.
Seconds into taxiing, the captain of flight AI-176 came to know that a maintenance engineer had left his phone inside the flight. In an unprecedented handling of this rather mundane situation, the captain asked the engineer to collect his phone from the plane. He instructed the cabin crew in-charge to 'recycle' one of the plane's doors and throw the phone down to the engineer.
Aircraft doors come in 'armed' and 'manual' modes. Doors are set to the 'armed' mode before take-off to ensure that if they are opened during an emergency, emergency slide-rafts automatically deploy. When doors are 'recycled' to 'manual' or disarmed mode, the slide-rafts don't deploy.
The plan was to drop the phone, embedded in a pillow, from the open door of the flight. However, the captain's seemingly foolproof plan didn't pan out. The cabin crew in-charge forgot to set the door to 'manual' mode, and on opening it, the emergency slide-raft attached to the door inflated and fell into position, delaying the flight much longer than initially planned.
What followed was chaos as Air India's engineering team had to assemble at the site, disengage the slide-raft, and pack it into the aircraft's cargo compartment. The door with the lost slide-raft was declared inoperative for emergency purposes. Had the aircraft been packed to capacity, 50 passengers would have had to be grounded for the flight to take-off with one inoperative raft.
The turn of events shifted the emphasis from the left-behind phone to the ensuing chaos and the delay. However, since an engineering team had to board the flight after the fiasco, it's been presumed that the left-behind phone was handed to the maintenance engineer.