Air India could have handled the Delhi-San Francisco flight disruption in a better way, a senior airline official said.

Last Thursday the airline’s auxiliary power unit flight was delayed by over 24 hours inviting passenger ire and a show cause notice from Directorate General of Civil Aviation. “We have given compensation to passengers for inconvenience and disruption. We offered accommodation and gave food. But clearly the way it was handled could have been better,” he said.

Narrating the sequence of events that led to delay, the official said that the auxiliary power unit (APU) in San Francisco bound aircraft was not functional and hence air conditioning could not be switched on.

“The aircraft was towed across from remote bay without a functioning APU. It was then connected to ground power but that wasn’t powerful enough to lower temperature of aircraft. Our staff made made a call to board people in aircraft.. May be it was a wrong call as aircraft was uncomfortably hot,” he said.

Other challenges cropped up compounding the problem. A change in runway limited the aircraft payload and required fuelling. Some passengers also decided against travelling and their bags had to be offloaded and payloaded counted again. Eventually the aircraft took off after a delay of over 24 hours.

“Clearly the way it was handled could have been better,” he said.