VIP culture: Indian Congress MP's shopping spree delays Air India flight by 45 minutes

Published: February 24, 2015
Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury. PHOTO: REUTERS

Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI: While Senator Rehman Malik and MNA Ramesh Kumar had to face the wrath of the public after they caused a flight to be delayed, it seems the VIP culture has rubbed off on MPs from across the border when an Air India flight was held up for 45 minutes late last week after a senior Indian Congress leader held up the plane while she allegedly finished her shopping, Hindustan Times reported.

Last Friday, former Union Minister, and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Chowdhury was travelling to Hyderabad on Air India’s Chicago-Delhi-Hyderabad flight AI-126 which was scheduled to take off at 1900 hours (7pm).

Chowdhury had turned up for boarding after the scheduled departure time but not before the pilot had missed his turn in the departure sequence.

Since her baggage had already been checked on the flight, it was not possible to retrieve it at the last minute, sources said, adding that “Air India did not have an option but to wait for her.”

Chowdhury finally turned up at 7:04pm, said the sources. But since the pilot had missed his window, they had to wait for some 45 minutes before they flight could take off again.

The MP, however, denied that she was shopping, “they have to establish where I went and shopped”.

“What nonsense they are talking?” she said, explaining that she had requested for a cart to take her to the departure gate, which took time in arriving.

The delay to the flight caused by Chowdhury created a lot of resentment among the passengers who took up the issue with Air India authorities.

The airline has instituted an inquiry into the incident, while the Civil Aviation Ministry has also instructed Air India to implement an electronic baggage identification system.

Last year, irate passengers protested against VIP culture aboard PK-370 and forced Senator Rehman Malik and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Ramesh Kumar off the aircraft for allegedly delaying the flight.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • zara
    Feb 24, 2015 - 1:02AM


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 24, 2015 - 1:21AM

    At the minimum, Indian government should recover from her the cost of fuel that the aircraft was burning while waiting for her and also the costs (if any) that Air India has to pay to the airport authorities for the additional time it had to use the airport facilities. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 24, 2015 - 1:38AM

    Delayed 45 minutes…..only…….goodness, she must be a nobody.Recommend

  • Renuka
    Feb 24, 2015 - 12:41PM

    Some adjectives to describe her arrogant, incompetent , self serving ,relic of the dynasty. This lady thinks it is her and her sons right to rule … She was foolish enough to say so on national tv…one of the many reasons why congress lost.Recommend

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