The trouble started in the morning when Air India Express flight 4422 was diverted here due to poor visibility near the Cochin International Airport. Soon after the Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight landed here around 6.30 am, the passengers stressed that they must be taken to the right destination.
Citing that it was well past their flight hours, the cabin crew rejected the demand. Heated arguments between the cabin crew and the passengers ensued. Air India offered to transport the passengers to Kochi by bus but they insisted that the flight must take off.
Upset over having endured a four-hour delay by then, some of the passengers tried to barge into the cockpit. Alarmed by this, the pilot pressed the hijack button.
Her move, apparently in panic, led to deployment of security officials at the airport and police surrounding the aircraft. However, it became clear within a short while that no one had tried to hijack the plane. After nearly three and half hours of chaos, the flight finally took off at 1.55 pm.
Even on reaching Kochi, some of the passengers faced much difficulty as their passports were seized. One of them rued: "Most of us are on a very short holiday. Look at the soup we've landed in, for no fault of ours. The government has done nothing to come to our aid."
Another passenger said: "We will never again travel Air India Express and we will offer the same advice to others."
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has asked KS Balasubramaniam, the state's Director General of Police, to look into the complaint filed by the pilot of Air India Express flight 4422 who had alerted the airport officials about a hijack attempt. The DGP will also hear the grievances of passengers during the enquiry, Chandy said.