This looked interesting especially as it has been both reported and denied ….. From the BBC this report –
The Mumbai Mirror reported on Friday that the incident took place on an Airbus 321 flying from Bangkok to Delhi on 12 April.
Citing an unnamed source in Air India, it said the two pilots had taken a 40-minute break from the cockpit and left two stewardesses in their seats to operate the plane in their absence.
Due to distraction the co-pilot touched the auto-pilot disconnect button momentarily”
Air India spokesman –
One of the stewardesses accidentally turned off the auto-pilot, forcing the pilots to rush back to their seats, the report said.
However, in an email to the BBC, an Air India spokesman said: “It is categorically stated that at no point of time the cockpit was left unattended by the cockpit crew.
“Based on a report that two cabin crew members were in the cockpit for a prolonged period on the flight, the airline management… summoned the cockpit and cabin crew for an enquiry.
“As the enquiry confirmed the overstay of the cabin crew in the cockpit, administrative action was taken against them and the pilot. They have been suspended pending the final enquiry of the incident.”
The spokesman said that “due to distraction the co-pilot touched the auto-pilot disconnect button momentarily”. “But the same was connected back,” he added.
“At Air India, flight safety is paramount. We take all steps to ensure that safety is not compromised under any circumstances.”
I love the “due to a distraction” bit. Any guesses as to what that may have been, allegedly?