SpiceJet on Sunday issued a clarification after Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur filed a complaint against the airline for allegedly refusing to let her remain on the seat she had booked on a Delhi to Bhopal flight, PTI reported. Thakur had submitted a complaint with the Bhopal Airport Director on Saturday, and had claimed that the authorities had misbehaved with her.
“On this aircraft, the first row is the emergency row seat and is not allocated to passengers on wheelchairs,” the airline’s spokesperson said. “As the BJP MP had come with her own wheelchair and had not booked through the airline, the staff wasn’t aware of this fact that she was a wheelchair passenger. She was requested by the crew to shift to 2A/B [in a non-emergency row] due to safety reasons but she refused.” The incident reportedly led to a 45-minute delay in the flight’s departure.
The airline said that Thakur was shown the safety instructions document that contained the policy on exit doors. The statement added that as the flight was getting delayed other passengers requested Thakur to switch seats, but the BJP MP refused. “Other passengers also requested the airline staff to offload Hon’ble Smt Thakur as she refused to change her seat,” the spokesperson added. The BJP leader finally changed her seat and the flight was able to depart.
Bhopal Airport Director Anil Vikram confirmed that he had received Thakur’s complaint and said that the authorities will “look into it on Monday”.
Following the incident on Saturday, the BJP MP had alleged that SpiceJet staff did not behave properly with its passengers. “This has happened on previous occasions too,” she said, according to ANI. “I was moved away from the seat that I had booked. When I asked the cabin crew to provide me with a reason for the same or show me a rule book, they didn’t comply.”