Probe Ordered After Indigo Offloads Man Complaining of Mosquitoes
Indigo airlines said the man was offloaded “on grounds of unruly behaviour”, as he used “threatening language”.
A passenger travelling on an Indigo flight was "offloaded" from the aircraft after he complained about the presence of mosquitoes. While the passenger, identified as Saurabh Rai, alleged that he was "manhandled" and "threatened" by the crew, the airline asserted that he was offloaded "on grounds of unruly behaviour" and used words such as “hijack”.
Hours after the row came to light, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry.
Rai, who reportedly works as a heart surgeon in Bengaluru, was taking the Indigo flight 6E 541 from Lucknow to Bengaluru. A statement issued by the airlines regarding the incident said:
A passenger, Saurabh Rai, scheduled to fly this morning from Lucknow to Bengaluru, was offloaded on grounds of unruly behaviour. He expressed concerns over mosquitoes on board. Before the cabin crew could address his concerns, he became aggressive and used threatening language. As the matter escalated after closure of the aircraft doors, he attempted to instigate other passengers on board to damage the aircraft, and used words such as ‘hijack’. Hence, keeping in mind applicable safety protocols, the crew apprised the pilot-in-command, who decided to offload him.Indigo statement
Meanwhile, complaining that the flight in question was full of mosquitoes, Rai alleged that he was held by the collar and dragged through the aisle.
When I raised objections, I was manhandled by the crew and offloaded from the aircraft. I was even threatened... I heard the crew saying, ‘If you have a problem with mosquitoes then why don’t you leave India?’Saurabh Rai, Passenger
Indigo later issued another statement on 10 April, in which it narrated its version of the events that led to the deplaning of Rai from the aircraft. The airline expressed regret about the inconvenience caused to passengers on-board the aircraft and to Saurabh Rai.
Asserting that "at no point of time was there any physical altercation with the passenger," Indigo said that it carried out its duty as a corporate citizen in a "timely and responsible manner" and "took necessary actions to ensure safety and security of our passengers as well as colleagues."
Narrating its version of the sequence of events, the airline said:
In this background of his (Rai’s) belligerent behavior and on the concerns raised by other passengers, a decision was taken to deplane Dr Rai from the aircraft to ensure the safe conduct of the flight.Indigo Press Statement
Social Media Users Complain Too
The incident led to a few other people on social media to complain about the presence of mosquitoes in Indigo’s aircraft. The airline apologised to some, and apprised them of the procedures they follow.
Not just this, a different video, shot by a passenger on a Jet Airways flight at Lucknow airport showing passengers swatting mosquitoes, also surfaced on social media.
Jet Airways immediately issued a statement in response, saying:
We have taken this up with our cabin appearance team for review. We sincerely regret the inconvenience (caused).Jet Airways statement
(With inputs from ANI)
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