A pilot working with budget carrier IndiGo has been de-rostered after a complaint from a woman who said her 75-year-old wheelchair-bound mother was abused by him.
Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Puri took note of 50-year-old Supriya Nair’s tweets and said that the airline has de-rostered the pilot.
“I requested my office to contact @IndiGo6E as soon as I saw the tweet by Ms @SupriyaUnniNair about the pilot’s behaviour with her & her 75 yr old mother in need of wheelchair assistance. The airline has informed @MoCA_GoI that the pilot has been off-rostered pending full enquiry,” Puri said on Twitter. He attached Ms Nair’s tweet for reference.
Earlier, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said it will investigate the incident which happened on IndiGo flight 6E 806 from Chennai to Bengaluru on Monday night. The ordeal started, according to Ms Nair, when she asked for the pre-booked wheelchair for her mother.
Her tweet read: “Why am I tweeting at 2:15 am? Because my mom was literally shaking by the time we got home. She had her meds and now she is mortified that Jayakrishna (the pilot) will carry out his threats and harm me.”
The woman and her daughter were returning from a funeral in Chennai and said they had a comfortable journey until the flight landed and other passengers disembarked. Since they had pre-booked a wheelchair they waited for assistance from the crew. When help was not forthcoming, they tried to alert the crew by ringing the assistance bell. She then walked up to one of the crew members who said that the mother cannot be provided with a wheelchair.
“When I pointed out that the boarding pass mentioned a wheelchair, the captain came barging out and yelled at me for pressing the assistance button and annoying him and his crew. ‘How dare you call her Veena’, he asked me, referring to the flight attendant whose name tag carried the name. Taken aback, I told him not to yell at me and then he started threatening me. At this time, the wheelchair guys arrived and the pilot pointed at my mother and said ‘you’re not going anywhere’. He stopped the ground staff from taking my mother out of the aircraft threatening us that he will ensure we are detained and spend a night in jail,” Nair said in a series of tweets.
She also said that her worried mother requested the captain to not be rude, to which he replied that his job was to fly and not be polite to passengers. “The pilot told us that we had paid a piddly Rs 2000 and that we didn’t own the aircraft. He also said that he will make sure that I am barred from flying. He then threatened that he will not fly the onwards flight to Goa until my mother and me are put in jail,” Nair said in a tweet.
The flight, which was scheduled to land at 8.30 pm, arrived around 9.10 pm. The two were later helped by the ground staff of the airline who brought a wheelchair up the ladder and took them to the connecting bus to the airport terminal building. The captain tried to obstruct the bus, said Nair, who filed a complaint at the terminal before leaving the airport premises as her mother was not feeling well.
She alleged that none of the other crew onboard 6E 806 intervened or helped them. She thanked the Bengaluru airport staff and officials from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). “These staff members protected us from the pilot. Once we reached the arrival lounge, we were held back again as Capt. Jayakrishna stood there ranting that ‘we’ are not slaves, threatening me with dire consequences if I post about this incident on social media,” said Nair.