Monday, Jan 27, 2020 | Last Update : 09:08 PM IST

Minister cracks the whip over misbehaviour by airline staff

Published : Jan 15, 2020, 1:25 am IST
Updated : Jan 15, 2020, 1:25 am IST

Nair’s tweets led to a lot of response from netizens and one tagged the civil aviation ministry, seeking action.

Hardeep Singh Puri
 Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi: Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday stepped in to address the grievances of air travellers after one of them complained about misbehaviour by an IndiGo pilot and journalist Vir Sanghvi flagged an Air India security staffer’s misconduct. A proactive Mr Puri, who monitors the social media regularly, responded to both passengers giving out details of the action taken against those against whom the complaints were made.

In the first case, a lady named Supriya Unni Nair complained to IndiGo about the conduct of its pilot who allegedly threatened to send her to jail for demanding a wheelchair for her 75-year-old mother after landing in Bengaluru on Monday night.

“Your captain on 6E806 from Chennai to Bangalore on January 13, Jayakrishna, harassed, threatened and prevented me and my 75-year old diabetic mom from
disembarking the flight and threatened to arrest us because we asked for wheelchair assistance... Our flight was late and when we landed at 9:15 (pm) I tried calling the assistance bell and when the crew did not respond I walked up for help,” said Ms Nair, in a series of tweets to IndiGo.

Ms Nair further claimed that after lot of efforts when the wheelchair was brought to the aircraft, the pilot who was annoyed by her pressing the assistance bell, prevented her mother being taken from the plane.

“He prevents the wheelchair people from taking my mom out of the aircraft threatening us that he will ensure we are detained and spend a night in jail... Disbelievingly I ask him whether he is serious? ‘Shut up. Who do you think I am? I’ll get my CEO to make sure you spend a night in jail. We will teach you some manners,’ he says,” Ms Nair tweeted.

Ms Nair alleged that the pilot kept on threatening and misbehaving even in the arrival lounge.

Ms Nair’s tweets led to a lot of response from netizens and one tagged the civil aviation ministry, seeking action.

“I requested my office to contact IndiGo as soon as I saw the tweet by Ms Supriya Unni Nair about the pilot’s behaviour with her & her 75 year old mother in need of wheelchair assistance. The airline has informed Ministry of Civil Aviation that the pilot has been off-rostered pending full enquiry,” said Mr Puri in response to Ms Nair’s tweet.

In the second case, journalist Vir Sanghvi alleged that an Air India “uniformed security staffer” tried preventing him from boarding a UK-bound flight last week. Sanghvi claimed that the staffer positioned at the boarding gate to check visa stamping first didn’t accept his “Certification of Entitlement” given by the British authorities since he was born in the UK and does not need a tourist visa like others, and then objected to his old passport (which was attached to the new one and was also valid).

“By now, it was clear he was being bloody-minded. After one objection had not worked, he had invented another one. Obviously, I had not lived up to his expectations or had displeased him in some way. And he had the power to make me miss my flight. The stand-off continued for 15 minutes past the departure time. Thankfully, the gate staff refused to close the flight till I boarded,” Sanghvi wrote in a newspaper column.

He later tweeted his article tagging Air India saying: “The Taste: Air India needs to fight its crooks if it wants to keep living off our money. In any private airline staff who threatened to arbitrarily off load passengers would be sacked. At  they prosper at tax payers & passengers expense.”

The tweet caught the minister’s attention, who responded saying: “As soon as I saw Mr ’s piece on the harassment that he had to put up with, I asked my office to take up the matter with . After initial investigations, the officer involved in this case has been suspended pending detailed inquiry.”

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