Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he will be investigating the matter himself, and that there is zero tolerance towards such behaviour.

The child sitting on a wheelchair while Indigo staff and other passengers are in the background. Photo taken from behindManisha Gupta/Facebook
Money Aviation Monday, May 09, 2022 - 09:24

IndiGo airlines on Saturday, May 7, barred a child with a disability who was in a wheelchair from boarding a flight to Hyderabad at Ranchi airport along with his parents as he was in "a state of panic". The incident sparked widespread backlash against the airline, and other passengers on the flight said that an IndiGo employee misbehaved with the child and his family.

An account by a co-passenger Manisha Gupta, whose Facebook post detailing the incident has gone viral, said that the child was initially in distress, and the parents knew how to calm him down and did. However, here, she added that the staff of the airline refused to let them board if the “child did not quieten down and become 'normal'.” As per her post, IndiGo airlines said that behaviour such as them deems them unfit to travel. 

Other passengers, as per the post, opposed the decision and a delegation of doctors who were also travelling on the flight offered their support to the family if any health episode were to occur. 

A video uploaded by Manisha shows other passengers arguing with an IndiGo employee to allow the boy onto the flight. However, the flight departed Ranchi without the family on board. 

A doctor at the same terminal when this incident occurred told the Times of India at least one employee from the airline misbehaved with the child’s parents, and that several passengers as well as the doctors’ delegation requested the airline to allow the family to board. 

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday said that he will be investigating the matter himself. "There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken," he said.

DGCA chief Arun Kumar told PTI that the regulator has sought a report from IndiGo on this matter. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is probing this incident and it will take appropriate action, he said.

When asked about the incident, IndiGo said, "In view of the safety of passengers, a specially-abled child could not board the flight with his family on May 7, as he was in a state of panic." The ground staff waited for him to calm down till the last minute but to no avail, it said.

The airline made the family comfortable by providing them a hotel stay and they flew the next morning to their destination, it said.

"We regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers. IndiGo prides itself on being an inclusive organisation, be it for employees or its customers; and over 75,000 specially-abled passengers fly with IndiGo every month," it said.

The National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights has also taken cognisance of the matter, its chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said on Twitter. 

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