Angry Passengers Confront BJP MP Pragya Thakur For Delaying Flight

The airline said Thakur was asked to move to a non-emergency row seat as she was on a wheelchair but she refused.

Updated
India
3 min read

After BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur complained against private airline Spicejet for allegedly denying her the seat she had booked during a Delhi-Bhopal flight, SpiceJet on Sunday, 22 December, clarified that Thakur was asked by the fight crew to move to a non-emergency row seat as she was on a wheelchair, which she refused, resulting in delay.

Thakur had lodged the complaint with the director of the Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal after arriving by flight SG 2489. Sources said that after landing in Bhopal, a peeved Thakur did not deplane until some time.

Passengers on-board the flight asked the flight crew to “take a decision” over the delay. A passenger, while addressing Pragya Thakur said, “You are the people’s representative. Your job is to not trouble us.”

He further said it’s not her right to sit in first class, to which, the BJP MP said, “It is my right”.

‘Didn’t Sit on Dharna’: Pragya Thakur

When reporters approached her outside the airport later, she alleged that the airline staff "did not behave well with passengers".

"They did not give me the booked seat. I asked them to show the rules. I called the director and lodged a complaint with him," she said.

According to News18, denying the claims that she sat on a dharna inside the flight, she said,“I did not sit on a dharna in the flight. I just filed a complaint that the behaviour of the Spice Jet crew is improper. The seat that I was allotted was not given to me and no reason was stated.”

In an interview with news agency ANI, she addressed the incident and stated that she has a problem in her spinal cord & was allotted seat 1A which has leg space. She further added she even paid extra for it and was brought to the seat on a wheelchair.

Airport Director Anil Vikram had confirmed that he had received a complaint from the Bhopal MP. "I have got her complaint about seat allotment. We will look into it on Monday," he told PTI.

SpiceJet Issues Clarification

According to the airline’s spokersperson, while some restless passengers requested Thakur to change her seat from the emergency row, which is not allocated to passengers on wheelchairs, to a non-emergency row, others requested the crew to offload her as she was refusing to change the seat.

Ultimately, the BJP MP from Bhopal acquiesced and moved to the seat on a non-emergency row. A source said the flight got delayed by approximately 45 minutes due to this matter.

The SpiceJet spokesperson said, "The Delhi-Bhopal flight is operated by Bombardier Q400 aircraft (78 seater). On this aircraft, the first row is the emergency row seat and is not allocated to passengers on wheelchairs. As the BJP MP had come with her own wheelchair and had not booked through the airline, the staff wasn't aware of this fact that she was a wheelchair passenger.”

“She was requested by the crew to shift to 2 A/B (non-emergency row) due to safety reasons but she refused. The duty manager and other staff also requested her to move to another seat.”
SpiceJet spokesperson

She asked for the safety instruction document wherein the exit door policy is mentioned and the same was shown to her to provide clarity, according to the budget carrier's spokesperson.

"As the flight was getting delayed other passengers were becoming restless, we requested Hon'ble Smt Thakur to change her seat but she refused. Other passengers also requested the airline staff to offload Hon'ble Smt Thakur as she refused to change her seat,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson further said, "Finally, Hon'ble Smt Pragya Thakur agreed to change her seat from 1A to 2B and the flight departed. We regret for the inconvenience caused. However, safety of our passengers is paramount at SpiceJet.”

(With inputs from PTI, News18)

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