Crew members claim airline conducted strip searches, touched employees 'inappropriately'

Furious flight attendants have staged an airport protest after being subjected to what they claim was a series of “invasive” searches.

Footage of the protest by SpiceJet crew at Chennai Airport in India has gone viral. The group claims they were strip searched after leaving the plane on suspicion they had been swindling cash collected from items sold on-board such as food and drink.

They allege they were even told to remove their sanitary pads and were touched “inappropriately” during the searches. Furious, they refused to continue work at the airport, calling the searches unacceptable, NDTV reports.

“They made me feel very uncomfortable ... I was naked,” one can be heard saying in the footage.

In a written complaint submitted over the incident, one crew member claims that she and her colleague were forced to strip in a closed room in front of female airport staff.

“They cited the need to check our bags. After the bag check was over, the staff forced us to take off our (clothes) and we were frisked in an inappropriate manner. All this happened in front of those female staff,” her complaint says.

The airline confirmed that their security teams undertook “random pat down searches” of the crew but denies the claims of the search being inappropriate, stating that it was standard procedure.

“As per security and safety standard operating procedure (SOP), random ‘pat down’ search is conducted on various employees, including cabin crew, from time to time — a global industry practice,” the airline spokesman told the Times of India.

“One of the objectives of this search is to ensure that there is no pilferage of company money/goods, smuggling or any illegal activity that an employee may be lured into. SpiceJet has a well laid down SOP for such activity, which has been stringently followed. The SOP does not entail asking anyone to take off their clothes. Allegations regarding deviation from these SOPs are being investigated and strict action will be taken if anybody is found guilty," the statement concluded.

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