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.
One of the complainants said, "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."
"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 beyod imagination," the complainant said.
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.
(With PTI input)