Caviar-,Whiskey-Stealing Plane Crews Bankrupt Air India

Staff Writer
Too many perks are adding up for the Indian airline

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Flying to India has become more challenging for tourists, as Air India nears nearly $10 billion in debt. But the reasoning behind the airline's sudden tanking? Greedy, caviar-loving plane crews.

The Telegraph reports that Air India is investigating more than 161 claims of theft and abuse of perks from plane pilots, captains, and flight attendants. The allegations are numerous, as retired officers take business class seats ahead of passengers, pilots luxuriate at five-star hotels during layovers, and there have been multiple thefts of duty-free alcohol. But food also was a culprit in the investigated cases. Among the worst offenders? A catering officer who stole about $500 worth of caviar, a purser who walked off with more than 300 mini bottles of liquor. (It's not the first time crew has been suspected of stealing alcohol — in 2006, crew members aboard the prime minister's official aircraft were caught stealing six bottles of whiskey; 14 workers were suspended as a result.)

The aviation minister of India has claimed its abuses are driving the company into bankruptcy. Air India is the country's national airline, but may not be for much longer.