Couple Charters SpiceJet 737 To Have Wedding, Circumvent Coronavirus Restrictions

32

Wow on so many levels…

SpiceJet 737 secretly chartered for wedding

Yesterday (May 23, 2021) a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 operated a 1hr36min flight to nowhere, in the sense that it both took off and landed at Madurai Airport (IXM), in the south of India.

What was the reason for this flight? Well, many places in India have capped weddings at 50 guests due to how bad the coronavirus outbreak currently is, but the couple wanted more guests than that. That’s where the idea to charter a plane came from — this would allow the couple to invite 161 of their family members and closest friends, while trying to outsmart restrictions.

Flight SG9022 took off from Madurai and flew to the southwest. It then circled over the Kashi Vishwanathar temple, where the couple tied the knot, before flying back to Madurai.

As you’d expect, many rules were broken, including lack of mask wearing. For that matter, India even has a ban on inflight photography, and obviously that wasn’t enforced.

Aviation authority blames crew for wedding

It’s being reported that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has forced the airline to take the crew off their rosters, and to lodge complaints with appropriate authorities against those who didn’t follow protocols.

I feel like the DGCA has a record of blaming the wrong party for rules being broken. Personally I think the fault lies more with the airline than with the specific crew.

How exactly did this charter request go? “Hey, for no reason at all we’d like to charter a 737 for a couple of hours for us and 161 of our closest friends, and we’d like it to circle over a specific temple a couple of times, again, for no reason at all.”

Presumably the entire party showed up at the airport in full wedding attire, so it should have been obvious what was going on before the plane even left the ground.

If you ask me, blame here falls primarily on the airline for putting the crew in an impossible situation. It sure seems to me like the crew is being thrown under the bus here. I suppose they should have been held responsible for not enforcing rules, but could you imagine what the crew would have been up against inflight if they tried to stop the wedding?

Bottom line

A reckless couple decided to charter a SpiceJet Boeing 737 in order to have a secret wedding with more than 50 guests, which is in violation of India’s coronavirus restrictions. It seems that the party somehow convinced the airline it wanted to charter a plane just for fun, and apparently no one found that to be suspicious.

The couple then had a wedding during the flight and coronavirus protocols weren’t followed. The crew is being held responsible, though I feel like blame falls a lot more on management for allowing this kind of a charter in the first place.

What do you make of this inflight wedding party?

(Tip of the hat to Live from a Lounge)

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  1. Hotel Sierra Kilo

    Three words:

    What. The. Heck.

  2. Hotel Sierra Kilo

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but according to the flight path, the aircraft circled over Tenkasi, so it's more likely they were circling the Kashi Vishwanathar temple there, not the Meenakshi Amman temple, which is a few km north of IXM...

    Interestingly enough, it flew the exact same route twice before landing for some reason.

    1. Ben

      @ Hotel Sierra Kilo -- Thanks for the correction, updating post now!

  3. Max

    This is how you do it! Congrats to the couple for their wedding & their sanity to find a loophole in the useless restrictions.

  4. RTBones

    I feel like I want to say to the wedding party - Congratulations on your nuptuals, but I have a question: Really? I mean, really? This is what you did? Look, all of us are affected by the pandemic. None of us like it - we get that. We all have life events we may have had postponed or cancelled or missed. But this? This is just...irresponsible. (IMO)

    How is the blame for this...

    I feel like I want to say to the wedding party - Congratulations on your nuptuals, but I have a question: Really? I mean, really? This is what you did? Look, all of us are affected by the pandemic. None of us like it - we get that. We all have life events we may have had postponed or cancelled or missed. But this? This is just...irresponsible. (IMO)

    How is the blame for this entirely on the crew? That, I dont get. I dont know that they could have done much of anything and stayed safe. Sure, you can admonish them for not following protocols once they were airborne, but the airline put this crew in a horrible position. If you try to enforce protocols, you risk a small riot and endanger everybody (including potentially people on the ground if it got violent). If you dont enforce protocols, your airline backs up over you with a truck when the criticism comes in.

  5. Max

    @RTBones

    You are not affected by the pandemic itself, you are solely affected by the stupid, useless political restrictions that have been put in place.

  6. RTBones

    @Max - you may consider restrictions to be political and stupid, but when I cant get to two funerals, have to isolate multiple times because of potential brushes with the virus, and cannot travel or shop the way I would normally, the pandemic affects me. It affects me because it was the force driving the politicians to make those restrictions in the first place. Without the pandemic, there is no need for the policitians to make those decisions.

  7. Erin Tooley

    I think it's great! This couple thought out of the box to celebrate with those close to them. And what safer place to be than a plane with super filtered air? Every person knew they could be at risk to catch covid, but decided to live anyway. Let people make their own choices about their health.

  8. Ethan

    Was chartering a jet illegal? Your article doesn't mention that. If not, I don't see the issue; congratulations to the bride & groom.

  9. Nelson

    @Max, up untill now the only Stupid & Useless restriction we have here is YOU!

  10. Paolo

    I’d be giving them an extended honeymoon they’d long remember, in separate prisons for the next 6 months. Their selfishness knows no bounds...
    As for sanctioning the crew: ludicrous, they are blameless...but this is India and a convenient scapegoat must be found, so it’s “round up the usual suspects”

  11. Kent

    I see nothing wrong with chartering the aircraft for the nuptials. Frankly, an airline wouldn't ask the details, especially since the flight plan was legitimate. The only issue here was that the news got out and the guests should have exercised greater caution through use of masks. Other than that, social distancing hardly matters in a condensed space such as in an aircraft.

    Earlier this year, family and I chartered a jet to the...

    I see nothing wrong with chartering the aircraft for the nuptials. Frankly, an airline wouldn't ask the details, especially since the flight plan was legitimate. The only issue here was that the news got out and the guests should have exercised greater caution through use of masks. Other than that, social distancing hardly matters in a condensed space such as in an aircraft.

    Earlier this year, family and I chartered a jet to the Cook Islands for my daughter's wedding. Private aircraft were still flying into the islands and the passengers did not require quarantining. We were tested at each step of the journey to ensure we weren't infected. Morality aside, we were within all legal guidelines.

  12. RTBones

    @Kent - there is a difference between chartering a plane to a destination (say, the Cook Islands as in your case), and chartering a plane to nowhere to have a party that, on the ground, would otherwise be illegal (which is what happened here).

    The article does not mention whether anyone in the party were tested pre-flight.

    Put another way - if this flight was within legal guidelines, why was action taken against the crew by the airline at the behest of the DCGA?

  13. DCharlie

    Hah! Genius!

    Latest guidelines in India require all travelers to submit a negative RT-PCR test report at all public departing airports.

    Furthermore, the punitive actions against the crew is at best a slap on the hand and yes, the crew have been selected as scape goats. There is no legal basis to enforce a fine or sentencing because technically laws were not violated, albeit open to interpretation.

  14. Ahmed

    The airlines was well aware. If you see the video, there are special headrest covers printed for the occasion

  15. James W

    Yes, a confined space with dozens of maskless guests in the world's biggest COVID hotspot. What could possibly go wrong?

    They could do the inevitable funerals this way, too. But they'd have to pay extra to cart a coffin onboard.

  16. Ferse

    That's India for you - those with a little money abuses the ones who serve them, and when problems happen, it's the servers that ends up getting punished - caste system at it's finest...

    When you think about it, such behaviour is not really much to "wow" at, plenty have flaunted the rules during this pandemic.

  17. Eskimo

    Is it irresponsible, YES. Especially when India is struggling with COVID right now. Let's just hope no one on that flight has or have spread the virus.

    DGCA should blame no one but itself. They wrote the rules with holes, they can't go pointing fingers.

    Now, if you know a little more about Indian culture, how you throw a wedding is a bragging rights. They probably think COVID weddings are max at 50, how can...

    Is it irresponsible, YES. Especially when India is struggling with COVID right now. Let's just hope no one on that flight has or have spread the virus.

    DGCA should blame no one but itself. They wrote the rules with holes, they can't go pointing fingers.

    Now, if you know a little more about Indian culture, how you throw a wedding is a bragging rights. They probably think COVID weddings are max at 50, how can we make it bigger, charter a 737!!!!!.
    To top this couple, the next one needs to charter a 777.

  18. Kevin

    Y’all spreading your anti COVID conspiracies here are too much... please review how badly India is doing with no restrictions....

    I thought the US was terrible but India continues to ravage on. If that’s what you want for our country lol.... then you have no sense of patriotism and love for our country LOL

  19. Eric

    This is how the wealthy are able to escape covid restrictions. Similarly, the wealthy went through loopholes to get the vaccine first in the US by waiting for leftover vaccines in poorer neighborhoods that were highly impacted by the virus. Poorer people waited their turn, but the rich didn't.

  20. AG

    Shame on these people. How heartless can one be when millions of their fellow citizens are dead or dying, and with no place to cremate or bury them, as their loved ones run from pillar to post to give them their last rites.

    This is the modern India for the wealthy few who can breathe the clean filtered air of an airplane, where thousand of others are dying for the lack of oxygen.

    Instead of...

    Shame on these people. How heartless can one be when millions of their fellow citizens are dead or dying, and with no place to cremate or bury them, as their loved ones run from pillar to post to give them their last rites.

    This is the modern India for the wealthy few who can breathe the clean filtered air of an airplane, where thousand of others are dying for the lack of oxygen.

    Instead of penalizing the crew the Indian government should make these clowns serve in a Covid ward for a month.

  21. Auspointer

    @Erin Tooley

    “ I think it’s great! This couple thought out of the box to celebrate with those close to them. And what safer place to be than a plane with super filtered air? Every person knew they could be at risk to catch covid, but decided to live anyway. Let people make their own choices about their health.”

    And what exactly are you’re thoughts about the crew who have more than likely been exposed...

    @Erin Tooley

    “ I think it’s great! This couple thought out of the box to celebrate with those close to them. And what safer place to be than a plane with super filtered air? Every person knew they could be at risk to catch covid, but decided to live anyway. Let people make their own choices about their health.”

    And what exactly are you’re thoughts about the crew who have more than likely been exposed to COVID due to this very likely super spreader event all because this selfish group wanted to celebrate whilst a plague is ripping through their country.

    The airline should be made criminally liable for allowing their staff to be exposed like this.

  22. Commenting Commenter

    Exactly what @Ferse said! I'm all good with this as long as if there is any massive spread within this crowd and deaths from it, they don't have a right to clog the medical system.

  23. AA56

    That's why COVID is raging through India.

  24. Druk

    I’ve been traveling to South Asia since the early 80’s. India is amazing full of wonderful individuals. Folks like these are unfortunately becoming more prevalent. Especially when they travel. I’ve been diverted twice on International flights where wealthy Indian men were ordering the flight staff around. Mixed feelings, as American’s certainly have a bad rap of self-entitlement but their actions were off the chain. AND, upon landing in Kolkata & Delhi, 4 folks came on...

    I’ve been traveling to South Asia since the early 80’s. India is amazing full of wonderful individuals. Folks like these are unfortunately becoming more prevalent. Especially when they travel. I’ve been diverted twice on International flights where wealthy Indian men were ordering the flight staff around. Mixed feelings, as American’s certainly have a bad rap of self-entitlement but their actions were off the chain. AND, upon landing in Kolkata & Delhi, 4 folks came on board yelling. I love India, their culture & most importantly ‘most’ of their people. That said, I fly to PBH from BKK & never again DEl or God forbid MMN. What is interesting is the Governmental response which blames the crew. Kinda like the governmental response complaining to all media outlets that the current Covid Variant that is raging in India should NOT be called the India Varriant.
    I wish the couple well but their funds would have been better spent helping out their servant’s family members.
    $0.02 Deposited

  25. Hotel Sierra Kilo

    Update to my previous comment: It would seem I was wrong, as most news media here seem to be reporting Lucky's original statement; that the flight circled the Meenakshi Amman temple. I still do not understand how, looking at the flight path... but anyway, sorry for the misinformation.

    -HSK

  26. cabbage

    hahaha ............ well .....The sky is the limit

  27. Emily

    Hey. It’s a democracy. The people do what they desire, unlike our nanny state. The thing I’ve realised after living in India for a while is that people don’t really care what foreigners think. When you have money, flaunt it. Weddings are a big deal and not just to brag - they are a big event for the family. Anyways we got enough rich hypocrites at home so time is better spent looking at the...

    Hey. It’s a democracy. The people do what they desire, unlike our nanny state. The thing I’ve realised after living in India for a while is that people don’t really care what foreigners think. When you have money, flaunt it. Weddings are a big deal and not just to brag - they are a big event for the family. Anyways we got enough rich hypocrites at home so time is better spent looking at the scum shop in our backyard. Florida anyone?

    Hardly news worthy nor a super spreader event as someone said.

  28. Jordan

    I agree with @Max.

    Good luck to the people who shout conspiracy, anti mask, anti vaccination. Good luck to you in the coming times. We all came to Earth for an experience, and its coming.

  29. Auspointer

    @Emily educate yourself, here’s a start on the definition of a superspreader event:
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19-superspreaders-pandemic/

Featured Comments Load all 32 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Auspointer

@Emily educate yourself, here’s a start on the definition of a superspreader event: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19-superspreaders-pandemic/

Jordan

I agree with @Max. Good luck to the people who shout conspiracy, anti mask, anti vaccination. Good luck to you in the coming times. We all came to Earth for an experience, and its coming.

Emily

Hey. It’s a democracy. The people do what they desire, unlike our nanny state. The thing I’ve realised after living in India for a while is that people don’t really care what foreigners think. When you have money, flaunt it. Weddings are a big deal and not just to brag - they are a big event for the family. Anyways we got enough rich hypocrites at home so time is better spent looking at the scum shop in our backyard. Florida anyone? Hardly news worthy nor a super spreader event as someone said.

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