SpiceJet female crew allege strip-search by airline

ANI | Updated: Mar 31, 2018 20:55 IST

New Delhi [India] March 31 (ANI): Female crew members of SpiceJet have alleged that they were strip-searched by the airline's security staff on the night of March 28-29 at an airport.

In a letter to the SpiceJet management, the crew members narrated the ordeal, which they claimed, was aimed at "targeting and degrading their feminity".

The air hostesses were reportedly searched on the suspicion that they were swindling cash collected from the sale of food and other items onboard.

"We were treated like criminals the moment we stepped out of the aircraft. Two male staff escorted us to a room where 4-5 female ground staff were waiting. They opened our bags and checked everything from our clothes to mandatory items and all the personal and private belongings of ladies even they were new and sealed," the letter alleged.

The letter further claimed that "after the bag check was over, we were treated in an inhuman way. The staff forced us to take off our undergarments and we were frisked maliciously and in an inappropriate manner. they unzipped our uniforms, put their hands inside it and frisked our private body parts violating our fundamental right to privacy to the core".

In a statement, SpiceJet admitted that "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."

The budget airline also underlined that the search was the same as what any passenger goes through at any of the Indian airports while going through security check.

A SpiceJet spokesperson said that as a global industry practice, random 'pat down' search was conducted on various employees, including cabin crew, from time to time.

"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," said the spokesperson.

The airline also said, "These searches are not only a normal aviation industry practice, but also in multiple industries across the world. SpiceJet has a well laid down SOP for such activity, which has been stringently followed."

It added that these searches are conducted as per strict norms laid down by the security agencies in closed rooms, and by well-trained employees of the same gender (only women security staff search women employees). (ANI)