An Air India flight (number AI111) scheduled to operate from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to Heathrow Airport (LHR), the United Kingdom, on September 6, 2021, was delayed after a swarm of ants was found in the business class, as reported by the Economic Times.
The London-bound flight was scheduled to operate from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), India, to Heathrow Airport (LHR), the UK, at 14:00 local time, according to Flightradar24.com data. Eventually, the aircraft was replaced with another Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and the flight took off at 17:22 local time.
After discovering the pests in the business class area, the aircraft was replaced by another Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (registered VT-NAA), as per media sources close to the situation.
AeroTime has reached out to Air India for comment.
Air India has experienced similar situations involving unexpected passengers in the past.
In May 2021, a bat was seen hitching a ride onboard an Air India flight (number AI105) flying from DEL to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), the United States. The plane returned to DEL within 30 minutes of flight time after the mammal was spotted in the business class area, the Hindustan Times reported at that time.
Passenger panic and commotion were reported aboard Air India domestic flight (number AI691) on January 26, 2020, when a rat was seen in the aircraft cabin. The aircraft then taxied back to the apron, prompting flight engineers to search for the rat. Unable to find the rodent dead or alive, the aircraft was replaced to carry passengers to their destination after a considerable amount of delay in time, reported the NDTV.
In 2018, an Air India business class passenger uploaded pictures of bed-bug bite marks on social media, blaming the airline for the situation. The national flag carrier eventually apologized to the passenger and promised to “rigorously fumigate” the aircraft, reported by the BBC.