Two pilots coming to blows before takeoff, staff turning up late for flights, technical glitches and now a lizard that ended up in one of its in-flight meals caused embarrassment to Air India.
A picture of a lizard poking its head underneath a hamburger bun wrapped in a cling film on Air India’s in-flight meal tray is doing the rounds on the internet that left India’s Civil Aviation Minister fuming.
“This is a serious issue. Air India is not expected to serve lizards, nor are cooks expected to cook lizards,” civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said. “Strong action will be taken against those responsible” he added.
India Today reported that a male passenger was served a meal but spotted the baby lizard on the meal tray provided by the airlines. The alleged incident took place aboard Air India flight AI 111 from Delhi to London on Thursday, June 11.
According to the report, as soon as the flight took off at 1:00 p.m., food was served to passengers.
“A flight attendant got the said meal from the galley and soon after it was placed on to the tray, the passenger was heard screaming,” said a source from the airlines, adding, “The passenger was very upset and said that he would lodge a complaint with the airline on landing.”
The cabin crew allegedly offered to replace the passenger’s meal after he complained but he refused the offer.
However, Air India was swift to deny the incident and called the report as false and baseless, saying, no such complaint by any passenger has been received on board the flight or on Air India office in London.
On Saturday, after a meeting with Air India, civil aviation minister Raju seemed inclined to believe the incident did not occur. He said ” the evidence till now suggests that there is no truth in the story.”
A senior Air India official denied the incident took place and that it was just a hoax designed to tarnish the airlines’ image.
“This incident never happened. There is no record of it, no complaint that was filed either in London, New Delhi or on-board the flight. No cabin crew or even the other passengers on the flight were aware of such an incident and no one has come forward to complain even now. It is clearly a hoax. This all started with a picture appearing on Twitter. We are investigating the matter, as to who has placed the picture, and what is the claim of that person.”