A passenger has been taken off an Indian domestic flight after trying to enter the cockpit to charge his phone.

The man, who some Indian media reports said was intoxicated, tried to enter the cockpit while the plane prepared to take off for Kolkata from the western city of Mumbai.

“While an IndiGo aircraft was on the ground, an unruly passenger tried to enter the cockpit stating that his mobile needs to be charged,” a statement from the airline said.

He was removed from the aircraft and handed over to police “on grounds of a security violation”, IndiGo said.

Police questioned the man but released him soon after.

It is the second such incident this week. On Monday a passenger aboard a flight from Delhi to the Bihar state capital Patna was spotted trying to open the rear door of the aircraft while it was in mid-air. Another passenger raised the alarm and the man was stopped by the crew. He was handed over to police in Patna.

The falling price of air fares and growing incomes in India have led to a boom in domestic flights. More than 91.3m domestic tickets were issued this year to August, an increase of more than 21% during the same period in 2017.

While a sign of India’s growing prosperity, carriers say the influx of first-time flyers also throws up new challenges. This year one airline, Air Asia India, said it was producing a how-to video for new customers explaining essential aspects of air travel, from the need to show up on time to instructions on how to use an onboard toilet.

Indian flight attendants have frequently written in local media about the entitlement mentality of wealthy passengers in particular. “They think they can get away with anything,” attendant Sanchita Nanda wrote in The Print. “If a male passenger likes your face, he keeps ringing the call-bell, or if you give him a cup, he tries to touch your hand first.”

Reports of sexual harassment of attendants and other passengers have also become more common, though the problem is not uniquely Indian. The FBI said in April it had received 63 reports of sexual assault aboard aircraft in the United States in 2017.

Last week, more than 30 passengers were admitted to hospital suffering nose bleeds, headaches and ear pain after crew aboard a flight from Jaipur forgot to pressurise the cabin.

Earlier this year, Jet Airways suspended two pilots for five years after a male pilot slapped his female co-pilot during a flight to Mumbai. She reportedly stormed out of the cockpit and the male pilot eventually left to find her, leaving the plane on auto-pilot.

A Qatar Airways flight made an emergency landing in the south Indian city of Chennai last year, after a woman used her sleeping husband’s thumb to unlock his phone, where she discovered evidence he was cheating on her.

She reportedly began attacking her husband and cabin crew were unable to restore order, forcing the emergency stop.

The Guardian

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