New Delhi: Enacting the scene of a Hollywood suspense thriller, a United Airlines Delhi-Newark flight which began taxiing, made a U-turn and returned to the boarding area to embark two mysterious men, whose identities have been closely guarded by the authorities.
It was 11.35 pm on June 13, when the passengers of flight UA-83 were all aboard the aircraft, waiting to take off for the American destination. The aircraft had begun taxiing — moments away from the sky.
Then came a phone call. The pilots had to abort the take-off. The airline was allegedly called up by an Indian government agency demanding that the aircraft return to the boarding area for these two men.
The airline has confirmed the incident. According to United Airlines, this last-minute chaos held up the flight for 46 minutes. According to an estimate, this 46-minute delay must have burnt extra fuel of around 1.5 to 2 tonnes.
After returning to the boarding area, the aircraft had to go through a re-run: jetties had to be attached and all the clearances had to be taken once again. The two mystery men boarded the flight, took their seats even as questions floated through rows of seats about their identity.
United Airlines has refused to reveal the identity of these two passengers and told that these passengers were handed over to them by the Immigration as they were denied entry into India.