Air India flies between Pune and Delhi with a mixture of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The A321s are single cabin economy flights.
Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Ravindra Gaikwad showed up for one of these flights with an open business class ticket, wanting to take the 7:35am departure to Delhi on a day it was operated by a single cabin A321. The airline put him in the first row, but it was still economy.
The MP took the flight, but on arrival in Delhi he wouldn’t get off “for almost an hour” while 115 passengers waited to board the aircraft for its onward flight to the beach resort city of Goa. It’s the duty manager that came under attack.
“While the staff was requesting, the MP became abusive and started hitting AI employee with slippers. Mr. Gaikwad also tried to throw him out from the aircraft and was stopped by other AI staff,” the statement said. The 60-year-old employee, R. Sukumar is a duty manager with Air India.
He wanted to meet the airline’s top management, but the duty manager insisted he disembark the plane.
“He used foul language and bad words against me and abused me with all bad words against me and he started beating me and took out his slippers and started hitting me,” wrote [Air India duty manager] Sukumar.
The Indian Member of Parliament admits to attacking the airline employee, and thinks he was in the right to hit the Air India employee and believes he’s owed an apology.
While talking to TV channels, Mr. Gaikwad admitted that he did hit the Air India employee and said it is the airline that should apologise to him instead because its staff had first misbehaved with him.
“Yes, I beat him with my sandal 25 times. Should I tolerate abuses just because I’m an MP?” Mr Gaikwad told TV channels. “I can try to make someone understand something 10 times but if they don’t, then I will beat them. It is the airline that is at mistake and they should apologise to me,” he said.
There’s even video of the beating with a shoe.
Goodness knows Air India has its problems like pilots landing on a road, fighting each other, not showing up to fly (or refusing to fly unless their preferred female crew are assigned to the trip with them).
Of course the passengers sometimes aren’t much better.
But government officials really shouldn’t attack their employees, Air India has a reputation to protect, being Global and all.