IndiGo deplanes passenger for complaining of mosquitoes, minister orders probe
New Delhi/Lucknow, April 10 (IANS) Budget carrier IndiGo deplaned a passenger from a flight in Lucknow after he complained about mosquitoes in the aircraft. Reacting to the incident, the government on Tuesday ordered a probe into the matter.
IndiGo, however, said in a statement that the passenger had misbehaved with the crew members and threatened to damage the aircraft. "We have zero tolerance for such behaviour," the airline said.
The passenger, identified as Saurabh Rai -- a "reputed doctor" from Lucknow who works for the Narayan Hospital in Bengaluru -- was deplaned on Monday at the Chowdhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow, after he complained to the IndiGo staff about mosquitoes in the plane.
Rai, a resident of Indira Nagar in Lucknow, also alleged that he was held by the "collar" by the flight staff and pulled out of the plane after he complained.
He alleged that not only did the air crew get physical with him, they also told him that mosquitoes are everywhere in India and if he had so much of a problem with them, he should leave the country and settle abroad.
According to Rai, he had a 6.05 a.m. flight to Bengaluru from Lucknow and that there were many mosquitoes hovering around his seat (22C) and some kids on the plane were also crying after being bitten by them.
Many co-passengers, he claimed, also complained of the mosquito menace after which he told a flight attendant Sonali that she should spray something to ward them off.
"I was told that she will apprise her seniors about the plaint but nothing happened and the plane doors were about to be closed when I raised the matter again only to face half a dozen security staff of the airlines who literally threw me and my cabin luggage out of the aircraft," he alleged.
He also said that the video he shot of the mosquitoes on his mobile phone was also forcibly deleted by the airlines staff.
Rai said he had three surgeries lined up in the day at Bengaluru and hence he took a 12.30 p.m. flight later.
As per IndiGo's statement, the airline took necessary actions to ensure safety and security of passengers.
The airline said that the aircraft was sprayed with an approved insecticide twice and that the situation was explained to Rai, who "started aggressively" demanding that the aircraft be sprayed again, even if it meant deplaning the passengers and delaying the flight.
"In the presence of CISF, the IndiGo security staff explained the situation to Dr. Rai. In the meantime, some of the other passengers started complaining about him being on-board since they felt that he had already delayed the aircraft and behaved in an inappropriate manner," the statement said.
"In this background of his belligerent behaviour and on the concerns raised by other passengers, a decision was taken to deplane Dr.Rai from the aircraft to ensure the safe conduct of the flight."
After the incident was reported in the social media, Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu took cognisance of the matter and ordered a probe on Tuesday.
"I have ordered an enquiry into the incident of off-loading passenger Dr Saurabh Rai by IndiGo at Lucknow Airport," Prabhu tweeted.