It must be nice flying with your favorite airline? The clouds, the great cities which look like pieces of a puzzle board from up above; the joy of flying is unparalleled for many. But unpleasant things often happen on flights. And if you are in Pakistan, things might get really scary. For in spite of being a civilized nation, some of the country’s flagship service providers might behave a bit like the fundamentalists who roam around freely in that nation.
The best example is how the national carrier of Pakistan treats its passengers. The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been serving the country for the last 71 years, a year before Pakistan was born albeit under a different name at the time.
National carriers are not expected to do terrible things to its passengers. Issues do crop up but the manner in which PIA staffers allegedly behaved with the passengers will shock even those who have faced issues on other carriers.
According to media reports, a PIA flight on Saturday landed in Lahore due to low visibility. The flight was coming in from UAE and was headed for Rahim Yar Khan in the Punjab province near the international border with Rajasthan in India.
Low visibility is a normal thing. In the world of aviation, flights often face the issue of low visibility and make emergency landings. In such situations, the airline usually puts passengers on another flight once the visibility becomes better.
But things are different in Pakistan. The reports say that PIA staffers offered to take the passengers all the way to Rahim Yar Khan by…bus. This, too, might sound a bit okay till you realize that Rahim Yar Khan is 625 kilometers from Lahore.
That is just about the distance from New Delhi to Allahabad. For a moment imagine you are an Indian headed for Allahabad but whose flight made an emergency stop at New Delhi and your carrier offers you a ride in a bus all the way to your destination. Would you take it? Of course not!
That’s exactly the passengers told PIA. They would not travel in a bus all the way to Rahim Yar Khan. And this is where things go dirty.
The PIA officials then reportedly switched off the plane’s air conditioning system to force the passengers out. This absolutely shocking act allegedly resulted in the suffocation of some passengers, including minors.
According to the media reports, the passengers had requested the airlines to fly them to Multan Airport. Rahim Yar Khan is just 292 kilometers away from Multan.
The Nation reports that there were 105 passengers in the flight Pk-296. Poor visibility had forced the plane to first landed at Sialkot and then at Lahore.
And PIA got angry reactions and jokes on Twitter:
— Aisha Shylock (@chaandbeti) November 5, 2017
— Mohamed (DNS) (@DubaiNameShame) November 5, 2017
One half of the population of Pakistan is terrorist and the other half is bunch of jokers 😂https://t.co/rhlHNHnQ41
— Lame Monk 😌 (@oldschoolmonk) November 4, 2017
This is not a one-off incident in the history of the PIA.
Just a few days ago, the PIA became the butt of jokes on Twitter in Pakistan for forgetting two coffins at New York Airport. On that day, the PIA was flying its last flight from New York thereby bringing an end to the carrier’s most important international route.
The irony. On its last New York flight, PIA leaves behind two bodies at the JFK. Coffins were booked for Lahore. https://t.co/i3C2ft7N0B
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) November 1, 2017
Many experts in Pakistan have been critical of the national carrier’s declining performance and the government due to a whole host of reasons. They will certainly add this incident to their list of grievances against the PIA.