Government Official Attacks Airline Employee With Shoe Over His Coach Seat on All Coach Plane

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It has been 1.5 hours since you sent the email and not a single comment. I guess that means we are all speechless.

  2. India’s Ministry of Tourism promised us “Incredible India” and this government official certainly delivered on the promise !

  3. The Shiv Sena which is a main backer of the BJP party/government that currently rules India and it has a history of using violent intimidation tactics and worse against those with whom it takes issue. So can’t say that I’m surprised that one of its Members of Parliament behaved like this.

  4. For a minute I thought we were watching a video of Gary throwing a fit and refusing to disembark from the Park Hyatt Maldives shuttle boat after not being served champagne during the 40 minute ride from the airport to the resort.

  5. Not surprised at all! The political party he belongs to is known for these kinds of tactics to silence anyone who disagrees with them. So glad the BJP has broken off their alliance with them.

  6. Having lived in India I’m not surprised at all. Please watch again and notice the commentary from the TV station running at the top of the screen: “Watch his arrigance…watch his sense of entitlement.” Same things they’re saying on the air. Hilarious.

    And the air hostess, “You are our democratic leader. We have elected you. Please don’t do anything silly!” And they even talk about VVIP “racism.” (a CONSTANT discussion among the classes). Very true comments about Shiv Sena too.

    And people wonder why there are so many problems with Air India flights. This is everything all in one package.

  7. Shiv Sena and India’s BJP government are still in full alliance with each other at the national and international levels.

    This Shiv Sena Member of Parliament at the heart of this incident is a fanboy for Indian Prime Minister Modi. And Modi loves the Shiv Sena.

    Unfortunately Indian political parties and voters don’t collectively boot out the criminal politicians. Some say the Indian Prime Minister is himself an example of someone who criminally violated the laws of India and still got massive support from his party and his countrymen.

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