Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who was scheduled to fly business class on an Air India flight on Monday, is believed to have boarded the Rajdhani Express in Pune on Sunday. After the airline lifted the flying ban on him on Friday, the first-time MP had booked tickets for Delhi on the same flight on which he had assaulted an Air India employee on March 23, CNN-News18 reported.
The parliamentarian had booked an open ticket that allows him to fly on any date on the same route, an Air India official had told PTI. The official also confirmed that the aircraft had business class seats, which negated the possibility of Gaikwad losing his temper with the crew as he did on March 23. He had allegedly assaulted the employee during a squabble because that flight had not had a business class section. The Air India official explained that the “newly acquired A320 neo planes” would be flown on this route during the summer schedule, which began on March 26.
The national carrier had revoked the flying ban on Gaikwad on the insistence of the Civil Aviation Ministry. The Federation of Indian Airlines – comprising private airlines Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo – had followed suit and lifted the ban on him on Sunday. The five airlines had banned the Shiv Sena leader from flying with them after he had hit a 60-year-old Air India employee 25 times with his shoe because he was flown in the economy class despite booking a business class seat for his flight from Pune to Delhi.
On Thursday, Gaikwad had expressed “regret” for assaulting an Air India staffer, but said he would not apologise. Air India’s crew had demanded an unconditional apology from him for attacking their colleague.