BENGALURU: A complaint about mosquitoes on board an Indigo aircraft cost a Bengaluru-based cardiovascular surgeon dearly when he was allegedly manhandled and de-boarded from a Lucknow-Bengaluru flight on Monday. This is the second incident to be reported in the recent past and the airline had also been pulled up by a Parliamentary panel in January, 2018 for the way in which it handles its passengers. Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an enquiry into the incident.
According to details shared on social media by Dr Saurabh Rai, a cardiovascular surgeon based in Bengaluru, he was manhandled and forcefully deplaned by IndiGo staff when he asked them to spray mosquito repellent as he found many mosquitoes near his seat. He was later allowed to fly in the same airline by purchasing another ticket. The doctor told news agencies that he was planning to take legal action against the airlines. Dr Rai could not be reached for comment.
However, the airline claimed earlier that the passenger had behaved in an unruly manner and had used threatening words like ‘hijack’ which prompted the action.
According to IndiGo, Dr Rai was told that repellent could not be sprayed in an aircraft with passengers. “Dr Rai walked forward crossing 10 rows while the seat belt sign was on and started aggressively demanding that the repellent can be sprayed again, even if it meant deplaning the passengers and delaying the flight,” a statement from IndiGo said.
The airlines version of the incident states that the captain of the aircraft informed ground security and the quick response team of CISF and the crew again explained the situation to the passenger in the presence of CISF. “At no point of time was there any physical altercation with the passenger. In this background of his belligerent behaviour and on the concerns raised by other passengers (about delay in take off), a decision was taken to deplane Dr Rai from the aircraft,” the statement by IndiGo said.
According to the airline, a National Green Tribunal order prevented the spraying of repellent with passengers on board, an order which was being appealed.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr Rai said, “They asked me twice to write an apology letter and I refused, then I was taken to the terminal where I spoke to a staff member. No acknowledgement of my complaint was given,” he said. He also said that nobody from the Ministry of Civil Aviation or from IndiGo had gotten in touch with him till Tuesday night.
A video surfaces of a passenger being manhandled, pinned to the ground at the IGI airport in New Delhi when he got out of a Chennai-New Delhi flight. The passenger, Rajiv Katiyal got into an argument with the staff over a crowded bus which led to the action. An Indigo staffer who captured the incident on video was subsequently fired.
An elderly lady, who was being escorted by Indigo staff on a wheelchair, fell off her chair allegedly due to negligence of the staff. The airline then issued an apology to Urvashi Parikh Viren and was criticised by the Airports Authority of India for negligence.
A parliamentary committee on customer satisfaction with airlines, headed by Derek O'Brien, pulled up Indigo and said there had been many incidents of manhandling, discourteous and rude behaviour by staff and asked the airline to make efforts to train its staff to treat passengers more courteously.