NEW DELHI • India's Jet Airways has grounded five crew members for allowing a Bollywood singer to perform over the inflight announcement system, an airline spokesman said, prompting a social media backlash against the decision.
The temporary suspension of the crew comes after a video showing singer Sonu Nigam's impromptu performance last month went viral. That led to an investigation by the authorities.
"All cabin crew on the flight have been taken off flight duty for enquiry and corrective training to reinforce strict adherence to operating procedures," a Jet Airways spokesman said in a statement yesterday.
The video showed the celebrity singer crooning chart-topping Bollywood songs with other passengers joining in on a chartered flight from the western city of Jodhpur to Mumbai on Jan 4.
Following its probe, government officials asked the airline to take action against the cabin crew for violating regulations and misusing the inflight announcement system.
The crew's suspension was trending on Twitter in India yesterday with users lashing out at the authorities for suspending the crew.
"Never knew Sonu Nigam would be such a bad music to ears of Jet Airways. Suspending 5 lovely ladies for good sense of music.. Seriously??," user Yashwant Deshmukh tweeted.
"Wah! He made the passengers smile... and jet airways suspended the crew... great!! Get well soon Jet Airways," tweeted Sana Sheikh.
But many netizens supported the carrier's decision, saying such actions could jeopardise flight safety.
"I'm glad @jetairways has suspended (its) crew for allowing Sonu Nigam to 'misuse' the announcement system. It is unacceptable & dangerous," tweeted Tehseen Poonawalla.
In 2014, Spice Jet, another private airline, suspended cabin crew and two pilots after a video showing the staff dancing in mid-flight to celebrate the Hindu festival Holi went viral.