Member of Parliament is first to get on Indian no-fly list

It seems it takes a politician to get everything done in this country. Yesterday, I wrote an angry piece about a Member of Parliament being all entitled and hitting an Air India staff member for not getting him a Business Class seat on an All economy configuration plane. Here is a video of what happened [Warning: strong language]

Subsequent to the flight, the MP expected an apology from Air India, god knows for what. However, the staff member who was hit, filed an official complaint with the airline.

Here is the airline’s version of events. They subsequently filed two police FIRs against the MP, one for hitting their staff, and the other one for delaying a flight by over 40 minutes.

  1. Air India’s flight, in which the MP Ravindra Gaikwad was travelling, landed at IGI Airport at 9:35 am from Pune. After arrival of the flight, all passengers disembarked except the MP.
  2. “Gaikwad was holding open business class ticket and wanted to travel on this flight. The MP’s PA was in touch with our Pune Airport manager from yesterday regarding the travel of the MP to Delhi,” an Air India statement said. The airport manager told the PA this is an all economy flight operated regularly.
  3. Since the MP wanted to travel on this flight he was alloted the seat in the first row itself since there is no business class on this flight. The MP refused to come out of the aircraft for almost an hour.
  4. Harendra Singh, deputy general manager (commercial) of Delhi Airport, said at around 10.30 AM they received a complaint that the MP was refusing to deplane.
  5. In his complaint letter, a copy of which is with India Today, the victim wrote: “We later came to know that one passenger seated in seat 1F was refusing to get down from the flight as the aircraft has to proceed to Goa..” Raman goes on, “I then went to the aircraft and tried to persuade the passenger”.
  6. “We had to send the flight to Goa and approximately 115 passengers were waiting to board the aircraft but he wanted the top management inside the aircraft…”. In a highly agitated state, Gaikwad refused to come out of the aircraft till senior officials of the rank of chairman and other directors came to meet him to address his compliant on the spot.
  7. The adamant MP delayed the flight by 40 minutes for his ego and thus not only troubled other passengers but also incurred losses for the airline.
  8. With great difficulty the passenger was calmed and finally agreed to leave the aircraft.Since the aircraft was positioned at the remote bay a car was made available for him and officials escorted the passenger till arrival exit gate.
  9. On subsequent investigation with Surendra Kundu, customer services officer at arrival gate, it was learnt that the passenger got very upset when Sukumar told the MP that he was an elected representative of the people and should conduct himself accordingly.
  10. Reacting to the statement Gaikwad took out his slipper and hit Sukumar and pushed him out of the arrival exit door. Crew members and other officials intervened and physically restrained Gaikwad from causing further harm to Sukumar.
  11. “He became very abusive and used foul language and bad words against me,” alleges the 61-year-old Raman. “He started hitting me and the staff who was present tried to save me and he also tried to throw me out,” says Raman in his complaint.
  12. He ends his page-long complaint letter, filed at 1.10 pm, with this: “God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs”. Unrepentant, the MP in a chat with India Today said, “Hume charbi utarna ata hai”.
  13. Air India after enquiring into the incident filed two FIR’s with the police at Delhi.One FIR is for assaulting the employee and the second FIR is for delaying the flight for 40 minutes. Air India is also examining the creation of a “no fly list” of unruly passengers on the lines of other carriers.

The reaction to the complaint was unanimous. The head of Air India has required that all such cases of staff harassment and more, be reported directly to him.

The aviation minister of state on the other hand was more cautious on his remarks.

But this unfortunate incident did bring together the airline’s will to implement a ban that was perhaps long overdue. The Member of Parliament is the first person ever to be banned to ever fly on Air India.

However, that is just not the case, the members of the Federation of Indian Airlines, a trade/lobby body, have also decided to ban this MP from their flights. Which means, in effect, he either needs to now fly private, or he can just take the train to Delhi all the time. The FIA counts Jet Airways, Indigo, GoAir and SpiceJet as members, ironically, some of which do not have business class at all.

Here is hoping people will be more cautious travelling in the future. I’m glad we’ve set an example and a precedent for misbehavior on planes not going unpunished. As for the MP, his stance was he was not happy with the service of Air India. Well, to put out your grievance, you have this blog and the comments section, Mr.

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