NEW DELHI: Objecting to the ban on Kunal Kamra, the Indigo pilot who commanded the flight has observed that the stand-up comedian’s action did not even qualify for Level 1 unruly behaviour.
“Indeed, we pilots can all attest to incidents similar and/or worse in nature that were not deemed unruly,” the pilot said in a written communication, terming Kamra’s behaviour with senior journalist Arnab Goswami as unsavoury.
In India, unruly behaviour are classified under three categories —Level 1 is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment up to three months; Level 2 indicates physical unruliness and can lead to a ban from flying for up to six months; Level 3 indicates life-threatening behaviour where the ban is for a minimum of two years. The onus of deciding the ban lies with an internal panel.
The pilot accepted he did not see any physical contact between the two passengers.
“I did not observe any physical contact between the two gentlemen at any point. At this time I made a Passenger Address to the cabin asking the gentleman standing in the passenger aisle near Row 1 to return to his seat, and that any disagreements they may have could be sorted out on the ground after the conclusion of the flight,” he said.
Kamra upon hearing this apologised again relayed an apology and returned to his seat, the pilot said.
“I was disheartened to learn that my airline has taken action solely on the basis of social media posts, with no consultation whatsoever with the pilot in command. This is somewhat unprecedented in my nine years of airline flying.”
Later, Indigo said it had received the relevant statements and the internal committee has initiated probe in the matter.
“Moving forward, am I to understand that the bar for interpretation of a Disruptive passenger is lower/different when it comes to high profile cases? Perhaps the SEP Manual is to be amended to reflect this? I would like a clarification from the Airline as this leaves a lot of room for ambiguity,” the pilot wrote.
As per the rules to tackle unruly passengers, whenever an airline receives a complaint of unruly behaviour from the pilot-in-command, the incident may be referred by the airline to an internal committee which shall decide the matter within 30 days.