A flight attendant of the British Airways allegedly deplaned an Indian bureaucrat and his family at the London airport last month because his three-year-old son started crying on board, PTI reported on Thursday. The bureaucrat has accused the airline of racial discrimination and “rude behaviour”.
The incident took place minutes before take-off of the Berlin-bound flight on July 23. The bureaucrat, AP Pathak, is a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on August 3, Pathak claimed that the airline had also deplaned another Indian family as they had offered biscuits to the crying child. The airline’s customer care service manager did not give reasons why they were offloaded, nor did the company take action against the crew despite a complaint, he added.
“We had to make our own arrangements for staying and travelling to Berlin the next day by paying a very hefty amount,” he said. The other family, however, was given tickets for a flight the next day.
According to his letter, Pathak’s wife had taken the child in her arms to try to calm him, but a crew member started scolding the boy and asked him to go back to his seat. “With this unusual behaviour of the male crew member, my son got terrified and started crying intensively,” he wrote. “My wife again put the boy on his designated seat and fastened the seat-belt, even though he kept on crying intensively being in a terrified state of mind due to the scolding by the male crew member.”
The crew member also allegedly shouted: “You bloody keep quiet, otherwise you would be thrown out of the window.”
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We take such claims very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We have started a full investigation and are in contact with the customer.”