A Madurai couple took the popular adage - a match made in heaven - quite literally, and decided to tie the knot mid-air. And that too in the presence of their family and relatives, and in violation of the current Covid-19 protocols. A video of the ceremony has gone viral on social media.
In view of this, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated an investigation over reports of mid-air marriage ceremony, and has ordered taking the flight's crew off duty. It has also asked for registering a complaint against the couple and other passengers, who were part of the onboard, as it violated Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. Most states in the country, including Tamil Nadu, are under varying degrees of lockdowns, to curtail the spread of the highly contagious second wave.
"Crew members are off rostered. Airline directed to lodge a complaint against those not following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour with relevant authorities," said a DGCA official. The Madurai Airport officials were not informed about the marriage. "A SpiceJet chartered flight was booked yesterday from Madurai. Airport Authority officials were unaware of the ceremony," said S Senthil Valavan, Madurai Airport Director. The DGCA has sought a full report from the airline company and the Airport Authority regarding the said incident.
The couple booked an entire chartered flight and flew from Madurai to Bengaluru. In the video, the groom is seen tying the mangalsutra, and getting photographed with his new bride. The photographer in one shot encourages them to smile for the camera.
Others are also seen standing behind the couple and there are also visuals of the inside of the aircraft with people sitting and enjoying the function. The flight seemed to be full capacity, and most of them were seen without face masks and not observing Covid-19 protocols.
The aviation regulator had issued guidelines for air travellers earlier on that passengers 'wearing mask incorrectly' would be de-boarded from the plane.
"Upon boarding the aircraft, in case any passenger does not adhere to wearing of mask properly even after repeated warnings, he/ she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure. In case, any passenger on board an aircraft refuses to wear mask or violates the 'Covid-19 protocol for passengers' even after repeated warnings, during the course of the flight, such passenger may be treated as 'Unruly Passenger'," the DGCA guideline said. It further stated that , "The adherence to above directions shall be ensured by all concerned with immediate effect. Strict action shall be taken in case of any violation", it added.