An Air India Dreamliner got delayed for almost two hours after the commander decided to stop the aircraft to drop the phone to a ground staffer, who had left it in the aircraft. According to a report in the Times of India, the commander of the Boeing 787-800 (VT-ANP) – departing from London’s Heathrow for Ahmedabad – found out about the unattended cellphone. Reports said that it belonged to a maintenance engineer who had deplaned the flight after readying it for departure.
The incident took place on March 18, and became the first documented case of nomophobia-led deployment of an emergency inflatable slide-raft. The London-Ahmadabad flight saw a series of unprecedented decisions when the commander of the flight chose to be the hero of a man, who had left his cellphone in the aircraft. According to sources, the air commander informed the ground staff to reach the aircraft and collect the phone. After recruiting a crew-in-charge from the passenger cabin, he instructed the person to ‘recycle the door’, open it and throw the phone, which could be safely embedded in a pillow.
‘Recycle the door’ means to change the mode it is set in. What happened wrong during the whole exercise was, the cabin crew-in-charge forgot to change the door’s mode to manual, which if not done will make the emergency evacuation slide raft will inflate and position itself within six seconds. This immediately shocked the crew-in-charge, who was holding a pillow stuffed with a mobile phone.
“The engineering team had to disconnect the slide, deflate it, and fold and pack it into the cargo compartment,” TOI quoted a source as saying. According to reports, AI-176, which had started taxiing at 2pm, finally departed at 3.46pm. While the commander’s decision caused discomfort to the passengers, the incident had made the pilot to work on his decision-making skills.