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Air India pilots take nap, let flight attendants fly plane

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   May 3, 2013 at 12:15 PM   |   Comments

May 3 (UPI) -- Two Air India pilots were napping in business class when the flight attendant flying the plane accidentally turned off the autopilot. At 33,000 feet in the air on an Airbus 321 flying from Bangkok to Delhi, the pilots had to rush back to the cockpit.

About 30 minutes afte the flight took off, First Officer Ravindra Nath excused himself from the cockpit for a bathroom break and got flight attendant J Bhatt to occupy his seat. It's standard procedure to always have a second person in the cockpit in case anything should happen to the pilot.

Minutes later, Captain B K Soni called another flight attendant, Kanika Kala, to take his seat. Captain Soni spent a few minutes teaching the two flight attendants how to operate the aircraft before putting the plane on autopilot.

Soni and Nath then napped in business class for 40 minutes while the flight attendants operated the plane by themselves, until one of them accidentally turned off the autopilot.

A source told Times of India that a "senior cabin crew member witnessed the entire drama unfold and brought the matter to the notice of the airline's management." All four crew members involved were suspended and removed from current flight rosters.

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