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IndiGo pilot grounded after complaint from passenger

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A pilot working with IndiGo has been de-rostered after a complaint from a woman who said her 75-year-old wheelchair-bound mother was abused by him. The woman and her mother were returning from a funeral in Chennai. They said that they had a comfortable journey until the flight landed and other passengers disembarked.

They had pre-booked a wheelchair and were waiting for assistance from the crew. When help was not in sight, they tried to alert the crew by ringing the assistance bell. After which she walked up to one of the crew members who said that the mother cannot be provided with a wheelchair.

“When I pointed out that the boarding pass mentioned a wheelchair, the captain came barging out and yelled at me for pressing the assistance button and annoying him and his crew. ‘How dare you call her Veena’, he asked me, referring to the flight attendant whose name tag carried the name. Taken aback, I told him not to yell at me and then he started threatening me. At this time, the wheelchair guys arrived and the pilot pointed at my mother and said ‘you’re not going anywhere’. He stopped the ground staff from taking my mother out of the aircraft threatening us that he will ensure we are detained and spend a night in jail,” Nair said.

She also said that her worried mother requested the captain to not be rude, to which he replied that his job was to fly and not be polite to passengers. “The pilot told us that we had paid a piddly Rs 2000 and that we didn’t own the aircraft. He also said that he will make sure that I am barred from flying. He then threatened that he will not fly the onwards flight to Goa until my mother and me are put in jail,”

The flight was scheduled to land at 8.30 pm but arrived around 9.10 pm. The two were later helped by the ground staff of the airline who brought a wheelchair up the ladder and took them to the connecting bus to the airport terminal building. The captain tried to obstruct the bus, said Nair, who filed a complaint at the terminal before leaving the airport premises as her mother was not feeling well.

The incident is narrated by Supriya Nair in a series of tweets. Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Puri took note of 50-year-old Supriya’s tweets and said that the airline has de-rostered the pilot.

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