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A “joy ride” that turned out to be a mid-air wedding and flouted all Covid restrictions in India

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  • Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

Reporter

Published

Nothing can come between Indians and their wedding dreams—not even a once-in-a-century pandemic.

At a time when India is dealing with a deadly second wave of Covid-19, a businessman from the southern state of Tamil Nadu booked a chartered flight for two hours to tie the knot mid-air and avoid gathering restrictions. On May 23, the SpiceJet flight took off from Bengaluru for Madurai with the couple and over 160 guests.

Due to Covid-19, weddings in Bengaluru and Madurai—like most other parts of the country—are allowed to have only up to 50 guests.

In a video of the wedding that went viral on social media, the couple and their guests can be seen flouting all social distancing norms.

The Madurai airport authority has said it was unaware of the plan, however, the flight’s crew has landed into trouble.

The SpiceJet crew at the wedding

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has launched an investigation into the incident.

“The crew of the flight has been off-rostered and the airline has been directed to lodge a complaint with relevant authorities against those not following Covid-appropriate behaviour,” a senior DGCA official told the Indian Express on May 24. He added that the aviation safety regulator was conducting an inquiry into the incident “and shall take strict action.”

As per DGCA rules, unruly flyers can face three levels of punishment: A three-month ban for verbally abusing the crew, a six-month ban for physical assault, and a minimum of two-year ban for life-threatening behaviour.

SpiceJet’s spokesperson said the company had briefed the flying party on Covid protocols. “A SpiceJet Boeing 737 was chartered by a travel agent in Madurai on May 23, 2021, for a group of passengers for a joy ride post their wedding. The client was clearly briefed on Covid guidelines to be followed and denied permission for any activity to be performed on board. The approval for this flight was taken as a joy ride for the wedding group,” the spokesperson said.

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