An angry bunch of SpiceJet air hostesses accusing the airline of strip searching them at Chennai airport has gone viral, with the airline denying the claims. The air hostesses saif they were being strip-searched for the past few days after de-borading flights. This was being done by the airline’s own security personnel on the suspicion that they were swindling cash collected from the sale of food and other items on-board.
While SpiceJet confirmed that their security teams undertook “random pat down searches” at few of the stations on the night of Wednesday and Thursday as part of security and safety standard operating procedures (SOP), the airline rejected the allegation that the crew was strip searched.
The budget carrier said the allegations regarding deviation from SOPs were being investigated and strict action would be taken if anybody was found guilty.
“One of the objectives of this search is to ensure that there is no pilferage of company money/goods, smuggling or any illegal activity that an employee may be lured into. This also ensures security and safety of our passengers, employees and assets. This search is essentially the same as what any passenger goes through at any of the Indian airports,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
He said the searches were conducted as per the laid down procedures in closed rooms by well-trained employees of same gender. During the searches on Wednesday and Thursday, a few cases of pilferages were detected and appropriate disciplinary action was initiated, the spokesperson added.
Kamal Hingorani, Senior Vice President, SpiceJet, reportedly wrote an email to the protesting cabin crew, blaming the strict search on suspicion of dozens of cabin crew taking cash and company material from flights.
“We have therefore been compelled to carry out spot checks, which in any case is a company policy. It is in all our interests that the ‘black sheep’ amongst us is identified and removed so that honest employees are not blamed,” Hingorani’s mail said, according to a report.>