Telangana IT Minister KTR responded to the issue, saying airlines must have more cabin crew who speak the local language.

A Telugu-speaking woman was purportedly made to change seats on Indigo aircraftTwitter_Devasmita Chakraverty
news Controversy Monday, September 19, 2022 - 09:32

A woman who was travelling by an IndiGo flight from Vijayawada to Hyderabad was purportedly made to change seats from her original seat at the row next to the emergency exit, as she only spoke Telugu and not English or Hindi. The incident, which occured on Friday, September 17, came to light after it was shared on social media by an IIM-Ahmedabad assistant professor named Devasmita Chakraverty. Attaching a photograph of the passenger, Devasmita Chakraverty wrote, “A woman….was forced to seat 3C because she understood only Telugu, not English/Hindi. The attendant said it's a security issue (sic).”

The tweet has prompted a conversation about language discrimination and the need for cabin crew of airlines to read out safety guidelines in regional languages. While some social media users criticised the airline crew and called their actions disrespectful, others pointed out that those sitting in the emergency exit rows have more responsibilities in case of emergencies, and that it requires clear communication with the crew. On planes, exit rows are situated next to the emergency exit. Because of the additional legroom they offer, they are highly sought-after, and airlines charge more for them. Some Twitter users also pointed out that the plane’s crew can decide to shift someone they believe won’t be able to assist in an emergency situation.

Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao also called for flight services to employ cabin crew who speak local languages, and to disburse safety information in these languages. He wrote on social media, “Dear @IndiGo6E Management, I request you to start respecting local languages & passengers who may not be well conversant in English or Hindi. In regional routes, recruit more staff who can speak the local language like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada etc. This will be a win-win solution"

Agreeing with KTR, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra wrote, “I agree @KTRTRS. Short haul European flights ex London all have attendants who are native language speakers.”

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