- A couple married on a SpiceJet flight in India with 160 people onboard, seemingly flouting COVID-19 rules.
- The Indian aviation authority is investigating the incident, which airline SpiceJet described as a “joy ride.”
- Photos and videos show passengers cramped together. Many weren’t wearing masks.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Indian aviation authority is investigating a wedding party that took place on a plane on Sunday, Hindustan Times first reported.
A couple from the south Indian state Tamil Nadu held a mid-air wedding on a SpiceJet flight, which took off in Bengaluru and landed in Madurai two hours later, the report said. Aviation officials are now investigating the incident and have taken the crew off duty.
—DONTHU RAMESH (@DonthuRamesh)
May 23, 2021
Tamil Nadu recently imposed stricter coronavirus restrictions, including limiting weddings to 50 guests.
The couple booked 160 seats on the plane, SpiceJet said. It called the flight a “joy ride.”
Photos and video of the couple’s wedding posted on social media show the passengers flouting COVID-19 restrictions. People are crowded close together and many have their masks strapped around their chin, or aren’t wearing a mask at all. The plane appears to be full.
India’s coronavirus guidelines include wearing masks or face shields, and keeping a safe distance apart onboard an aircraft, according to the country’s travel rules.
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has launched an investigation into the incident, according to Hindustan Times.
“On the incident of Madurai couple getting married onboard SpiceJet flight yesterday, the DGCA has directed SpiceJet to lodge complaint against those not following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour with relevant authorities,” a DGCA official told Hindustan Times.
“The crew has been de-rostered. We are looking into this and will take strict action,” the official added.
Read more: Several members of my family in India got COVID, so I flew home to help. While the US reopens, India is still deep in crisis.
May 24, 2021
Insider has reached out to Madurai airport authority for comment on whether it was aware of the wedding.
SpiceJet didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but a company spokesperson told the Indian Express on Monday that “despite repeated requests and reminders, the passengers did not follow Covid guidelines and the airline is taking appropriate action as per rules.”
The incident comes at a time when India is experiencing a deadly second wave of COVID-19. Oxygen, ICU beds, and blood plasma are in short supply. Hospitals in the country are struggling to cope with shortages of beds.
The coronavirus variant first found in India has “mutations which increase transmission,” the WHO’s chief scientist told AFP May 8.