IndiGo arrested for preventing disabled child from boarding, airline provides clarification
The incident created an uproar on social media that forced the airline to issue a statement explaining why its staff made the decision.
Manisha Gupta, a passenger on the affected Ranchi-Hyderabad flight who was present at the time of the incident, wrote in her Facebook post that the specially disabled person “had a very uncomfortable drive to the airport”. By the time he passed through security and reached the gate (almost an hour before boarding), he appeared to be in the throes of hunger, thirst, anxiety and confusion.
However, he was soothed after his parents gave him food, juice, water and love, Gupta said.
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The whole incident was observed by an IndiGo staff member, who warned the family that the child would not be allowed to board the flight unless he was acting “normal”. Staff told the family that the child posed a risk to other passengers on the flight, Gupta alleged.
Although other passengers, including doctors and government officials present at the scene, intervened and argued with airline staff to allow the child to board the flight with his parents, the IndiGo official remained adamant about his decision.
As the boy was banned from boarding the airline’s Ranchi-Hyderabad flight, his parents also decided not to take the flight.
DGCA chief Arun Kumar told PTI that the regulator has requested a report from IndiGo on the matter. “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) is investigating this incident and will take appropriate action,” Kumar said.
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On the other hand, when the issue sparked criticism on the internet, IndiGo issued a statement claiming that the specially disabled child could not have boarded the flight because he was in a state of panic”.
“Considering the safety of passengers, a disabled child could not board with his family on May 7, because he was in a state of panic. Ground staff waited for him to calm down until the last minute but to no avail,” the airline said.
“The airline put the family at ease by offering them a hotel stay and they flew the next morning to their destination,” he said.
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“We regret the inconvenience caused to passengers. IndiGo prides itself on being an inclusive organization, both for its employees and its customers; and more than 75,000 passengers with special disabilities fly with IndiGo each month,” the airline added in the press release.