Singapore – Indian airline SpiceJet is getting flak for allowing a couple to have a mid-air wedding ceremony with 160 attendees.
Images and videos from the wedding have gone viral on social media.
The ceremony on Sunday was insensitive given that India was still struggling with a destructive second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic causing more than 200,000 infections daily.
There were more than 1,300 reported cases a day in Madurai, the couple’s hometown, in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Epidemiologist Jayaprakash Muliyil agreed that it was “unsafe” to gather in large numbers within an enclosed space with no one wearing masks.
“Since there is no clarity over whether the passengers took a test before boarding the flight, it is difficult to say that none of them carried the infection,” Dr Muliyil said. “It was also not fair to expose the crew members to the risk.”, Asiaone reported.
The couple had held their real wedding last week at a venue where only 50 guests were allowed, before the mid-air ceremony with triple the number of guests.
In response to the criticism, SpiceJet shared that all passengers had been instructed to stick to Covid-19 guidelines.
However, the repeated reminders were largely ignored.
Social media users requested the authorities to find the couple.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (GDCA), India’s aviation regulator, added that passengers refusing to follow the rules can be placed on a no-fly list, either permanently or for a limited period.
However, a passenger is added to the no-fly list only when he or she assaults the crew or threatens to hijack the flight, said Mr Natin Sarin, an aviation lawyer.
“But this event seems to have been permitted by the crew and there is no sign of the crew trying to stop the passengers from performing the ceremony, as per the videos available on social media. So the passengers cannot be put on a no-fly list,” Mr Sarin said.
However, not all Indian citizens feel insecure despite Covid-19.
A Dependant’s Pass holder who formerly worked in DBS bank commented on Facebook that she felt much more secure back home in India and added that she probably contracted Covid-19 at Changi Airport, reported The Independent SG.
She added that her PCR test was negative both before her departure for and after her arrival in Singapore.
She wrote that she “got infected in SG most probably on (sic) Changi airport”.
Phuong Le Ha is an intern at The Independent SG/TISG