Airline Suspends Two Pilots After They Snapped Mid-Air Pic Revealing Potentially Fatal Rule Violation


Zoe Forest Contributor
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Two SpiceJet pilots in India were grounded after a viral photo showed an uncovered cup of coffee precariously close to the plane’s thrust levers. 

The captain and first officer of a flight between Delhi and Guwahati snapped a photo mid-flight of a SpiceJet paper cup of coffee and guyijas, a sweet pastry enjoyed during Holi, on the control board. The photo appears to show the pilots celebrating Holi, a Hindu holiday that took place on March 8, while piloting the aircraft. The photo eventually made it’s way to Twitter where it sparked outrage.

Aviation experts warned that if the coffee had spilled on the thrust lever, the plane’s control could have been dangerously impacted. 

Shakti Lumba, a retired pilot and former head of operations of IndiGo, told CNN, “It was totally inexplicable behavior. All pilots are aware of the dangers of spilled liquids in the cockpit.”


Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation expert, said he received the photo from a “pilot friend” and was the first to share it on social media, according to First Post. He warned, “Even the slightest turbulence and coffee spills on to the electronics, it will foul the systems. This is a criminal act.”

In India, there are strict regulations on food and beverages in the cockpit, which stipulate that all beverages must have a lid. 

SpiceJet took disciplinary action against the pilots, who have now been grounded. However, a spokesperson for the airline told The Hindu Newspaper that many details about the incident are still unclear. “It is not clear from the post when was the photograph taken, whether it is recent or old, the sector being operated or the crew or even the aircraft in question. We are trying to ascertain these details.”

This is not SpiceJet’s first incident regarding safety. SpiceJet aircrafts were involved in at least eight technical malfunctions in 2022, resulting in their operational flights being halved by regulators.