A video showing 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 crew alleged that they were searched after de-boarding 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 March 28 and March 29 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 March 28 and March 29, a few cases of pilferages were detected and appropriate disciplinary action was initiated, the spokesperson added.
Here is SpiceJet’s full statement:
SpiceJet is a responsible airline that takes pride in its employees.
As per security and safety SOP, random “pat down” search is conducted on various employees, including cabin crew, from time to time – a global industry practice. 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. This also ensures security and safety of our passengers, our employees and our assets.
This search essentially is the same as what any passenger goes through at any of the Indian airports while going through security check. These searches are conducted as per strict norms laid down by the security agencies in CLOSED ROOMS, and by well trained employees of SAME GENDER (ONLY WOMEN SECURITY STAFF SEARCH WOMEN EMPLOYEES).
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 28/29 March. A few cases of pilferage were detected and appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated.
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.
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.