Last updated: 10:23 AM ET, Mon August 03 2015

Chicago-Bound Air India Flight Delayed More Than 15 Hours

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 03, 2015

Chicago-Bound Air India Flight Delayed More Than 15 Hours

A Chicago-bound Air India flight was delayed by more than 15 hours in Delhi last week after a member of the flight's cabin crew was unavailable for duty, the Hindustan Times reported.

With no standby crew in place, the flight's 329 passengers were forced to wait overnight.

The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 2 a.m. local time Thursday, but was rescheduled for takeoff at 5:30 p.m. 

An airline spokesperson attributed the lengthy delay to a "cabin crew shortage."

"It was her rest period. Crew (are) being called at short notice to operate flights. To operate a long haul flight, crew (require) a minimum two nights stay at the station, which she hasn't got," an All India Cabin Crew Association official told the Times, adding that "the management needs to have a standby crew."

Citing sources, the Times reported Air India officials are "furious" and have ordered an inquiry into the delay. 

Despite the outrage, the head-scratching wait wasn't even the most bizarre thing to happen to an Air India flight Thursday. Another flight traveling from Delhi to Milan was forced to turn around two hours into the trip after passengers and crewmembers allegedly spotted a rat on board.

While suspected rat sightings are far less common than delays, the Times reported that 988 Air India flights were delayed because of late-arriving cabin crew over the course of the first 10 months of 2014. 

"Air India is no stranger when it comes to keeping passengers waiting," aviation expert Rajji Rai told the Times. "But such incidents tarnish its image deeply."

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