SpiceJet Flight Attendants Speak Out After ‘Degrading Strip-Search’

Apr 2, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Two female flight attendants with India-based low-cost carrier SpiceJet are speaking out against a strip-search conducted by the airline’s security crew on March 28.

Upon completion of the flight, two male crew members escorted the flight attendants to a room where several female ground staff were waiting, along with the in-flight coordinator of the Hyderabad air base. The ground crew told the flight attendants the order came from higher management, and they were required to cooperate.

In a letter to SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh, the flight attendant went into detail about the ordeal she experienced with another colleague, saying, “We were treated like criminals the moment we stepped out of the aircraft.”

The flight attendant’s identity has been withheld from the public, but she has held an excellent track record with the airline over her five years of employment, she said.

“They opened our bags and checked everything and all the personal and private belongings even though they were sealed. They made us open our shoes and checked the heels of the shoes. After the bag check was over, we were treated in a inhuman way. The staff forced us to take off our undergarments, and we were frisked maliciously and in an inappropriate manner which I am ashamed to mention here. They unzipped our uniforms, put their hands inside it and frisked our private body parts violating our fundamental right to privacy to the core. After the checks and frisking was over, we were told we can leave the room with our scattered bag belongings.

“I was completing my post-flight work they called me and said they need to frisk my body again and took me to that room. The second time frisking was worse and beyond imagination. I feel humiliated, embarrassed, mistreated and insulted. All these happened in front of all those female staffs from the ground service present in the room and some male staffs waiting outside. The room did not have CCTVs — what if people there could have crossed their limits.

“In all my life, I have never been treated like this. My dignity, my privacy has been hurt and violated to the core and my femininity has been targeted and degraded. This kind of environment doesn’t seem to be safe. I speak on the behalf of other honest and dedicated cabin crew that none of us deserve to be treated like this as though we are thieves.”

A SpiceJet spokesperson said that  random “pat-down” searches were “standard operating procedure” for the airline. “One of the objectives of this search is to ensure that there is no pilferage of company moneys/goods, smuggling or any illegal activity that an employee may be lured into,” the spokesperson said. “This also ensures security and safety of our passengers, our employees and our assets. These searches are not only a normal aviation industry practice, but also in multiple industries across the world. SpiceJet has a well laid-down standard operating procedure for such activity, which has been stringently followed.”

As a direct response to the flight attendants’ allegations, SpiceJet released a statement saying, “Based on a specific security tip-off following certain recent instances in other airlines, SpiceJet’s security team undertook searches at few of our stations on the night of the 28th of March.” The airline further stated that the searches are conducted according to strict guidelines, in closed rooms with well-trained employees of the same sex.

The airline’s full statement ended: “Allegations regarding deviation from these SOPs are being investigated and strict action will be taken if anybody is found guilty. If the allegations are found to be untrue/false, then the media reports are defamatory in nature.”

Assault and harassment in the aviation industry has been increasingly covered in recent news. Both cabin crew and passengers have spoken up against fellow employees and other travelers: Randi Zuckerberg and Allison Dvaladze have openly decried their in-flight assaults, and pilot Betty Pina is suing Alaska Airlines for negligence in not disciplining alleged rapist Paul Engelien, a long-time pilot for the airline.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.