Organized Passenger Protests on Iranian Airlines Shine Light on Delays
Despite the fact that staying on a plane after suffering through an extended delay is the last thing most travelers want to do, an alarming number of frustrated Iranian airline passengers are protesting by refusing to leave the aircraft after its arrival.
According to Ramin Mostaghim and Patrick J. McDonnell of The Los Angeles Times, there have been several recent incidents in Iran regarding extended delays of as much as 22 hours, and commuters are fed up with the perceived mistreatment. The passengers have organized sit-ins on the planes that have reportedly lasted for several hours.
The organized protests have resulted in fights and insults being thrown around between the passengers and the flight crews, according to Mostaghim and McDonnell. Many who travel in within Iran expect delays of several hours, but there has been an increase in reported delays in the local media.
On a recent flight from Tehran to Tabriz, a passenger using only the name Farzane told The Los Angeles Times about another delay and the restlessness of the passengers:
“People got very angry and exchanged insults with local officers and even started criticizing top officials for mismanagement. Finally, with great hesitation we boarded and prayed for God to care for us. When we landed, we all breathed a deep breath of relief.”
One of the most notable protests took place on Feb. 22, according to Iranian news website Tabnak.ir (h/t Mostaghim and McDonnell), in which travelers dealt with a 12-hour delay and refused to exit the plane when it finally arrived in Tehran.
The local media has pressed the Iranian aviation authorities for answers, and the group has placed much of the blame on the shoulders of U.S.-led international sanctions.
Aviation engineer trainee Ali Sorani told The Los Angeles Times, “Because of sanctions, Iran cannot buy new planes and it can be hard to find spare parts. No matter how long the delay, we are told we have to make sure that the flights are safe.”
In response, pro-government ideologue Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi condemned the answers aviation authorities have given for the delays and spoke about the situation during last week’s Friday prayers, via Mostaghim and McDonnell:
“We are disrespecting the rights of passengers. We are wasting their time and disregarding their dignity. I asked one of the officials of the aviation agency, and he told me that delays have nothing to do with sanctions. The delays are a consequence of inefficiency and mismanagement.”
The recent protests against Iranian airline delays are an extreme case of making a statement, but the involvement of government officials and authorities proves that the calls of the unsatisfied customers did not go unheard.
More by Donald Wood
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports