A drunk man urinated on a female co-passenger in business class on an Air India flight in November but left without action, the airline said on Wednesday amid growing outrage. The man has been banned from flying with the airline for 30 days. Weeks after the incident, Air India also filed a lawsuit, recommending that the unruly pilot be placed on a no-fly list.
The DGCA has asked the airline to report on the incident, which was disclosed after the woman wrote to Air India Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran.
“We will take action against those who find negligence,” the watchdog said.
On November 26, the allegedly intoxicated passenger unzipped and urinated on a fellow passenger in his 70s in business class on an Air India flight from New York to Delhi. After dinner the lights dimmed.
The man allegedly exposed himself after urinating and did not move until another passenger asked him to return to his seat.
The woman complained to staff that her clothes, shoes and bag were soaked with urine. The crew allegedly gave her a set of pajamas and slippers and told her to go back to her seat, claiming there were no other seats.
After the flight landed in Delhi, the passenger allegedly left without facing any proceedings for his egregious behaviour.
Disappointed with the airline’s handling of the incident, the woman wrote to Mr Chandrasekaran the next day, describing what she called “the most harrowing flight I’ve ever been on”.
“I am writing to express my deep disappointment at the appalling incident that occurred during my business class travel on flight AI102 (departed JFK New York at 12:30 noon yesterday 26th November and arrived at approximately 1:30 pm today Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi pm). This was the most painful flight I have ever experienced. During the flight, just after lunch, after lights out, and I was getting ready for bed, another passenger completely walked up to my seat on “He was drunk. He unbuttoned his pants, pooped, and continued to let me touch his pussy. The passenger next to me told him to go back to his seat. He did not respond immediately but left the area a few moments later,” she said in the letter.
Air India has now lodged a police complaint against the man and banned him for 30 days “as a first step”.
Air India “has banned the passenger for 30 days, the maximum period allowed to do so unilaterally, and reported the matter to the DGCA for further action,” a spokesman said in a statement. However, the airline did not provide details on when the flight ban will be implemented.
“We have also formed an internal committee to investigate the errors of some of Air India’s cabin crew and address deficiencies that led to the swift rectification of the situation,” the statement said.
Additionally, the airline said it is also in regular contact with passengers and their families during the investigation and reporting process.
The woman reportedly wrote that she didn’t want to sit in the dirty seat, so she was given a crew seat. An hour later, the crew allegedly told her to go back to her seat, which was covered with a sheet but still reeked of urine. When she adamantly refused to sit in the same seat, she was offered another crew seat, where she spent the remainder of the five-hour flight.
“Later I learned from a passenger that there are several seats in first class and he suggested to the crew that I change to one of them instead of being forced to sit in a dirty seat. Apparently the crew didn’t feel bad about taking care of a loved one. Passengers are a priority. At the end of the flight, the staff told me they would give me a wheelchair to make sure I got through customs early. However, the wheelchair put me in the waiting area, where I waited for 30 minutes and no one came Pick me up. I ended up having to clear customs and collect my own luggage – all in Air India pajamas and socks,” the woman wrote, adding that the Air India cabin crew was very unprofessional.
Air India expressed strong condemnation and an immediate apology following the same incident in August 2018, when a drunk man urinated on the seat of a female passenger on a New York-Delhi flight.
— Air India (@airindiain) September 1, 2018
This is the latest incident of unruly behavior on a flight.
On December 26, a group of passengers hit On a Thai Smile flight from Bangkok to Kolkata, a passenger refused to lift his seat upright before takeoff. December 16, a video ‘I’m not your servant’, flight attendant tells passenger during brawl on IndiGo flight