Even as the row between Air India and Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad refuses to die down, another political leader has stirred a controversy by refusing to follow security protocol on board an AI flight, forcing it to be delayed by 30 minutes, ANI reported.
The staff on an Air India plane flying from Delhi to Kolkata on Friday asked Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen to shift her senior citizen mother from the emergency exit as per protocol. However, the MP refused to do so and created a ruckus, ANI reported quoting sources.
Sen had booked her tickets via MakeMyTrip, which had not specified that wheel chair-bound passengers could not be allotted an emergency seat, reported Hindu Business Line. An argument broke out between the cabin crew and the TMC leader as the staff refused to give Sen’s mother the emergency seat citing security regulations, reported NDTV.
The pilot of the aircraft intervened in the matter and offered to shift Sen’s mother to business class. However, the MP asked for herself and another passenger to be moved to business class along with her mother, reported Hindustan Times. AI staff refused to comply, leading to another argument.
Sen’s mother was later given another seat, however, the flight was delayed by 30 minutes by then. Sen also demanded a written assurance from the cabin crew that she will not be blamed for the flight’s delay, the HT report added.
The incident comes just hours after Air India lifted the ban on Gaikwad from flying with the airline, after the Civil Aviation Ministry wrote to the national carrier asking it to revoke the restriction with immediate effect. “In view of the apology tendered by Mr. Gaikwad and undertaking of good conduct given by him, AI and other airlines were advised [by the ministry] to lift the ban,” Air India said.
The Sena leader had earlier said he hit the Air India employee 25 times with his sandal because he was flown in the economy class despite booking a business class seat for his flight from Pune to Delhi. However, Air India had said the plane he had chosen to fly on was economy-only, and that he had refused to take a different flight.