Air India on Tuesday cancelled a ticket booked for Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad for the second time, days after he assaulted one of the carrier’s staff members on board a flight from Pune. Air India and the Federation of Indian Airlines, which represents four other carriers, had barred Gaikwad from their flights after he hit the official 25 times with a slipper and boasted widely about it on national television to boot. Gaikwad had an open ticket from Mumbai to Delhi for Wednesday.
Gaikwad had assaulted the Air India staffer multiple times with his slipper during a discussion about seating arrangements on Thursday. The first-time MP from Maharashtra said he had hit the employee because he was given an economy class seat despite booking business class tickets from Pune to Delhi. However, Air India said the plane he had chosen to fly on was economy-only, and that he had refused to take a different flight.
After Air India and the FIA barred him, he was forced to take a train to Delhi. This created a furore in Parliament, with his fellow Shiv Sena legislators protesting against the ban. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also said that MPs need to travel to Delhi often when Parliament is in session, and they cannot be expected to take trains everywhere.