Air India cabin crews have been told to avoid duty-free shops at airports because they are delaying flight departures by spending too much time shopping.
The order comes just a few weeks after Tata Sons, an Indian conglomerate, took over Air India for the first time in decades.
For years, the Indian government has tried to sell the loss-making airline, and its new owners are focusing on immediate solutions to bring it around.
Air India’s dismal on-time performance — a metric that measures how many flights actually depart on time or within a close range of the planned time – appears to be at the top of the list. Cabin staff members were immediately chastised for causing unnecessary delays.
Along with the new shopping prohibition, cabin crew has been instructed not to wear too much jewelry through airport security because the amount of metal is causing many of them to be pulled out of line for time-consuming additional security checks.
Crew members have been told not to eat or drink until passengers have boarded in order to be available in the cabin to help stow bags and speed up the boarding process.
Cabin staff members have also been urged not to postpone boarding if at all feasible, and to close the main cabin door as quickly as possible.
Just before being privatized, Air India irritated cabin crew by deploying new ‘weight police,’ who were instructed to pull personnel from the check-in line and subject them to BMI checks.
The measure is part of new clothing and grooming requirements that were implemented in an effort to make the crew appear more professional.
Weight checks for flight attendants immediately before departure, according to a cabin crew union, could be harmful to their mental health.