• New rules ensure no United Airlines like situation arises in India

    The customer-treatment standards followed by Indian carriers and a new set of rules governing them are likely to ensure that the recent incident of security personnel brutally manhandling a United Airlines passenger in the US isn’t replicated here, said airline executives and industry experts.

    United Airlines on Monday handled an overbooking situation by brutally off loading a passenger with a security personnel dragging him down the aisle even as he screamed and protested. A video of the assault went viral and led to a massive furore on social media apart from an investigation by the authorities.

    Such situations do arise in India, but airlines haven’t been known to manhandle passengers even in dire situations.

    A Jet Airways Mumbai-Bhopal flight last year was delayed by 90 minutes on Friday as a group of 80 passengers — a marriage party — refused to let the aircraft fly as some of them were not allowed to board the overbooked flight.

    The guests refused to accept the airline’s offer of compensation or re-accommodation on alternative flights and proceeded to hold the flight.

    But the authorities called the law enforcement officials only as a last resort to intervene to bring the situation under control and let the flight take off. All the offloaded guests were compensated, the airline said.

    When asked, a Jet spokesman said the airline strictly follows the aviation regulator’s rules in such situations. Last year, the aviation regulator –Directorate General of Civil Aviation — enforced rules that stipulate that an airline has to provide an alternative flight within two hours of the passenger’s earlier flight in case of boarding being denied or flight is cancelled due to the airline’s fault.

    Otherwise, the airline will have to pay a penalty, which will be three times the base fare charged on the ticket, plus the refund. Senior executives at IndiGo and Vistara said that as a practice they try not to overbook. “However, if we were to run into an overbooked situation due to unplanned schedule disruption, etc., we would accommodate customers in order of check-in. ” As the DGCA reports indicate, we have the lowest denied boarding rate in India, which is predominantly zero.

    “We would not, under any circumstances, offload a boarded passenger against his will to accommodate anyone,” said a Vistara spokesperson. Adam Thielen Jersey

    Share This