A drunk man urinated on a woman co-passenger in the business class of an Air India flight in November and left without facing any action. Weeks after the incident, Air India has filed a case and has recommended that the unruly flier be placed on the no-fly list.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has sought a report from the airline into the incident that was revealed after the woman wrote to the group chairman of Air India, N Chandrasekaran.
“We shall take action against those found negligent,” said the regulator.
On November 26, the drunk passenger allegedly unzipped and urinated on a co-passenger in her 70s in the business class of an Air India flight from New York to Delhi. The lights had been dimmed after a meal.
After urinating, the man allegedly kept exposing himself and didn’t move until another passenger asked him to return to his seat.
The woman complained to the crew and told them her clothes, shoes and bag were soaked in urine. The crew allegedly gave her a set of pyjamas and slippers and told her to return to her seat, claiming no other seat was available.
After the flight landed in Delhi, the passenger allegedly left without facing any action for his egregious behaviour.
Disappointed at the airline’s handling of the incident, the woman wrote to Mr Chandrasekaran the next day describing what she called the “most traumatic flight I have ever experienced”.
“I am writing to express my deep disappointment regarding the appalling incident that occurred during my business class trip on flight AI102 (commencing in NY, JFK yesterday 26th November at 12.30 pm, and arriving this afternoon in New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport at approximately 1.30 pm). This has been the most traumatic flight that I have ever experienced. During the course of the flight, shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off, I was getting ready to sleep, and another passenger walked to my seat completely inebriated. He unzipped his pants, relieved himself, and continued to expose me to his private parts. The passenger sitting next to me asked him to return to his seat. He did not respond immediately, but after a few moments left the area,” she said in the letter.
Air India has now filed a police complaint against the man. “Air India constituted an internal committee and recommended to put the male passenger on the ‘no-fly list’. The matter is under a government committee and a decision is awaited,” sources said.
The woman reportedly wrote that she didn’t want to sit on the soiled seat, so she was given a crew seat. After an hour, she was allegedly told by the crew to return to her seat, which was covered with sheets but still reeking of urine. When she firmly refused to take the same seat, she was given another crew seat, where she spent the remaining five hours of the flight.
“I subsequently learned from a fellow passenger that several seats were available in First Class and he suggested to the crew that I be moved into one of those rather than being forced to sit in a soiled seat. Clearly, the crew did not feel that taking care of a distressed passenger was a priority. At the end of the flight, the staff told me they would get me a wheelchair to ensure that I clear customs as early as possible. However, the wheelchair deposited me at a waiting area, where I waited for 30 minutes, and nobody came to get me. I finally had to clear customs on my own and collected the luggage by myself – all in Air India pyjamas and socks,” the woman wrote, calling the Air India crew deeply unprofessional.
Air India had expressed strong condemnation and had apologised promptly after an identical incident in August 2018, when a drunk man urinated on the seat of a woman passenger on a New York-Delhi flight.
This is the latest incident of unruly behaviour on a flight.
On December 26, a group of passengers beat up a co-passenger on a Bangkok to Kolkata flight on Thai Smile after he refused to make his seat upright before takeoff. On December 16, a video emerged of a row on an IndiGo flight in which a stewardess is heard telling the passenger, “I am not your servant.”