IndiGo Airlines has recently faced a series of incidents that highlight the challenges faced by passengers and airline crew during long-distance flights. These incidents range from seat reassignments due to language barriers to confrontations with unruly passengers. The incidents have drawn attention to the need for improved communication and understanding in the aviation industry.
One incident, which came to light last year, involved a passenger on a Vijayawada to Hyderabad flight who was allegedly asked to vacate her exit row seat due to a language barrier.
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The incident gained prominence after a fellow passenger shared the account on social media. Exit row seats, known for their extra legroom, are highly sought after and often come at an additional cost. In this case, the passenger, who did not understand English or Hindi, was relocated to a seat behind the exit row, according to the witness.
Another incident that made headlines in December 2022 was captured in a viral video showing an IndiGo crew member engaged in a heated exchange with a rude passenger. The video, posted by Twitter user Er. Gurpreet Singh Hans, documented a confrontation between the crew member and the passenger during a flight from Istanbul to Delhi.
The disagreement arose when the passenger expressed dissatisfaction with the onboard facilities, and tensions escalated as the crew member attempted to explain the limitations of the passenger`s food options. The situation further escalated with derogatory remarks from the passenger and a response from the crew member asserting her role as an employee, not a servant.
In response to the incidents, IndiGo has acknowledged the altercations and attributed them to meal choices made by passengers travelling through codeshare connections. The airline expressed regret over the incidents and reiterated its commitment to ensuring passenger safety and comfort.
An enquiry was also initiated by the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Meanwhile, in a separate incident, several IndiGo passengers were left frustrated after their luggage was inadvertently left behind at Hyderabad airport. The airline has assured the affected passengers that their 37 bags will be safely delivered to their addresses in Visakhapatnam, expressing regret for the oversight.
These recent events underscore the importance of effective communication and mutual understanding between passengers and airline staff. As the aviation industry continues to evolve, airlines strive to address these challenges in order to provide a seamless and enjoyable travel experience to all passengers.
As per experts, passengers have the right to lodge complaints against unruly cabin or flight crew members with the aviation regulator or through the Air Sewa platform. The DGCA may proactively address complaints submitted by passengers on social media platforms.
A behavioural analyst noted that Indians are known for their extreme courtesy towards elders, guests, and loved ones, but can exhibit extreme rudeness and boorishness towards strangers or those they perceive as lower in social status.
“To prevent such behaviour in the aviation industry, it is essential for the education system and society at large to address this mindset,” he said. Overall, these incidents serve as a reminder of the importance of respect and empathy within the aviation industry. By fostering a culture of understanding and cooperation, airlines can work towards creating a harmonious and pleasant travel experience for all passengers.