Pune: When Eagles sang Hotel California in 1976 about a spooky hotel, little did they know that 40 years down the line, Air India cabin crew would recount similar stories in their layover hotel in Chicago.
The alleged ‘paranormal activity’ is affecting the crew so much that many of them are rescheduling or reporting sick from work just to avoid the hotel - so much so that even the Aviation Ministry is contemplating changing the hotel. Hotel Holiday Inn Gurnee Convention Centre situated at 6161 Grand Ave in Chicago (USA) has become a feared place for the crew operating flight no AI-127 to Chicago because of the ‘paranormal activities’ experienced by dozens of crew members.
According to a document available with Sakal Times, a complaint in this regard has been sent by the crew members to the management.
The AI-127 (Hyderabad-Delhi-Chicago) flight is operated on Boeing-777-300ER (extended range). The flight has a two-day layover in Chicago before it returns to India and is operated by the Mumbai and Delhi-based crew on daily basis.
These two nights are spent in Holiday Inn Gurnee.
“A week back, 22 crew members, who were scheduled to operate the Chicago flight, reported sick to Cabin Crew Movement Control office in Delhi as they were unwilling to go out of fear and those who are operating the flight are staying in groups of two or three in one room,” a source said on condition of anonymity.
Strange phone calls
A male crew member, who experienced weird and unexplained activities in that hotel, said, “I was sleeping in my room at night when I received a call on the landline phone; on the other end a little girl was singing a song. After finishing the song, she yelled at the top of her voice. I thought my colleagues were playing a prank on me and put down the receiver. But within a few seconds I felt that somebody was playing a piano in my room.”
He added, “I tried to put the lights on but it didn’t turn on. I got scared and as I was trying to leave the room, the lights turned on. I came out of my room and spent the whole night outside.”
A female crew member, who was one of those to initially stay at that hotel, said, “I was in the bathroom and suddenly saw the reflection of a little girl in the mirror. I was confused and scared at the same time and didn’t tell anything about it to anyone.”
She later realised that a lot of crew members are experiencing the same thing.
Another female crew member recounted her horrifying experience two weeks ago. “It was around 6 am and I was watching TLC on the television. Suddenly I felt that somebody was pushing me down on the chest and I was not able to do anything. After struggling for some time I managed to get up and found prints of a hand on the LCD screen of the TV.”
Instances of footsteps being heard also came to the fore. One member stayed at the hotel in the month of May and said, “It was around 2.30 in the night when suddenly I heard footsteps, it was like somebody was running from one corner to the other corner right above my room. I ignored it for a few minutes but I found it strange and informed about it to the Front Desk, who checked and informed me that nothing was there. But after that, I was not able to sleep the whole night.”
Banging on the door
Banging of door in midnight, the sound of music in rooms have been experienced by many crew members. Most of the crew operating Chicago flight don’t sleep alone in their rooms now.
AI Chief aware
When Sakal Times contacted Ashwini Lohani, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India and inquired about the issue, he said, “I am aware of the situation of the crew during their layover at Holiday Inn Gurnee. I am trying to change the hotel but will do only after I get a detailed report on this issue.”