An Indian couple made world headlines in May when they were investigated for chartering a plane as a wedding venue, hosting more than 160 guests despite lockdown restrictions.
The plane, a 737 Boeing belonging to low-cost carrier SpiceJet, was booked by a travel agent for a post-wedding trip in Madurai, the biggest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
As reported by the Times of India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) launched an investigation into the incident, grounding the crew as a result.
“The airline has been directed to lodge complaints against those not following Covid-appropriate behaviour with relevant authorities,” explained a DGCA senior official.
Even though celebrating a wedding at 30,000ft might seem a little bizarre, it’s not the only crazy thing people have done on a plane.
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Having a baby on board
Lavinia Mounga, a 38-year-old US citizen, gave birth to her baby while on a flight from Salt Lake City to Hawaii in May. The woman, who was unaware of her pregnancy, started complaining of stomach pains and didn’t realise she was 29 weeks pregnant until she gave birth to a premature baby boy in the plane’s toilet.
Luckily for her, aboard the plane were several medical professionals, including three neonatal nurses on a trip together, as well as a GP.
Given his premature birth, the medical team was concerned with the baby’s vital signs and built a makeshift special care unit at 40,000ft in the air.
“We basically made our own little incubator with hot water bottles and blankets,” GP Dale Glenn told The Washington Post. “That first hour was really tricky, but fortunately this is a tough little kid and steadily his colour improved, his breathing quieted down, and he was warming up.”
Despite the circumstances, both mother and son were extremely lucky to be on the same plane with a team of healthcare professionals.
“I’m just so lucky,” she told the newspaper. “If they weren’t there, I don’t think he would be here.”
Just as much as birth is a part of life, so is death – even at 30,000ft in the air. People dying aboard planes is not as rare as one might think and there are protocols in place to deal with it.
According to TikTok user and flight attendant Sheena Marie, when a passenger dies aboard a plane, cabin crew are instructed to confirm the death and usually not touch the body until arrived at the destination. If there is space, flight attendants might move the body to the last row and cover it with a blanket.
“If they have a heart attack and die, and there is nothing we can do about it, and we can’t start CPR, we are just going to wait until we get to our final destination,” Sheena Marie said in a TikTok video that went viral.
Once a flight arrives at its destination, protocol demands passengers disembark before the crew allow medical professionals inside to assess the death. “Then we will call their next of kin to let them know that their loved one has passed away,” she explained.
The International Air Transport Association has guidelines in place in case of resuscitation and on-board death, which include performing CPR until the passenger is dead or alive or the rescuers are too exhausted to continue.
Trying to open emergency doors
It’s normal for people to feel nervous and restless aboard planes but in some cases, passengers have taken it too far.
In 2014, a passenger aboard a China Eastern Airlines flight opened the emergency door after the plane landed because he wanted to get out of the plane faster. As reported by Chinese news agency Sohu, the passenger’s stunt cost the company $16,000 in damages.
Last year a Ukrainian woman pulled the emergency exit open on a Ukraine International Airlines plane moments after the plane landed. The woman strolled on the plane’s wings because it was “too hot inside” and she needed to get some fresh air.
Passengers are not the only ones to have tried opening the emergency doors without a valid reason. As reported by Business Insider, in 2016 a flight attendant operating on a Unite Airlines flight from California to Texas opened the emergency exit when the plane landed at Houston Airport.
According to testimonies, the woman opened the exit and evacuated the plane using the emergency evacuation chute.
Even though her reasons were not known, the incident’s cost as much as $42,000.