Kaushik Majumdar, a physically challenged man has alleged harassment by Air India staff. Majumdar says he was allegedly stopped from boarding a flight from Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru on Sunday.
Majumdar, a native of Kolkata, has been staying in Bengaluru for a decade now. On Sunday he was supposed to travel to Kolkata via Air India flight. He is using an electronic wheelchair since he has 85% orthopaedic disability.
Majumdar said, "I reached airport and collected my boarding pass and took the bus to reach near the plane but when I was about to board the flight ground staff asked me to disconnect the battery of my wheelchair which I did but Air India staff was not satisfied with this and ordered me to remove the wire which is connected to the battery. I told them I can't remove that since this is a complex mechanism and I can't join them back. But the staff was adamant and didn't allow me to board the flight hence I had to come back home."
However, Air India refuted these allegations saying the passenger was informed near the boarding desk to only remove the wire from the battery since battery operated wheelchairs are not allowed inside the aircraft as per DGCA rules.
Air India issued a statement regarding the incident which says, "The passenger was informed by the counter staff at the check-in counter that the battery operated wheelchair is not permitted inside the aircraft and accordingly offered a wheelchair. At that time the passenger agreed to remove the battery at the boarding gate. After reaching the boarding gate AI official spoke to him about the need to remove the battery, however, the passenger refused to disconnect the battery. The same was informed to the commander of the flight and since the passenger was not agreeing to disconnect the battery he could not be accommodated on the flight. Air India strictly follows the laid down procedures and regulations regarding passenger safety.”
Majumdar says he had faced this kind of situation earlier as well since there are no proper guidelines and rules for these kinds of situations and this is the first time he was not allowed to fly.