LONDON – In a recent horrific incident on-board Air India flight from New York JFK to New Delhi, a disorderly male passenger urinated on a woman in business class.
Recent revelation of the incident
Whilst the incident took place on November 26, 2022, what was even more surprising is that this incident came to light only when the woman embroiled in the incident wrote a letter of complaint to the Group Chairman, and that letter then went viral on social media.
Until this letter had surfaced, Air India had not filled any notification or report on the matter. Protocol when such incident occurs is that the crew is to immediately notify the incident to the pilot, who in-turn notifies the same to ATC.
Once the aircraft lands at the destination, the passenger must be handed over to the authorities for further investigation.
It appears that Air India hadn’t followed the protocol on this incident – in fact the passenger walked out of the aircraft without any repercussions. The passenger concerned is a business man residing in Mumbai.
After this incident come to light, an FIR has been lodged against him and authorities are in a search to apprehend him.
According to local news source News 18, the aggrieved passenger said that when the cabin lights were dimmed after meal service, a male passenger had walked up to her seat, unzipped his pants and urinated over her.
He then stood there still until another passenger intervened. Soon after this, the female passengers alerted the crew, who provided the woman with a pair of pyjamas and disinfected her seat before putting towels on the seat for her.
She was understandably traumatized and decided not to get back to her seat after which the crew allotted a crew seat in which she sat for most of the flight.
After the flight landed at Delhi International Airport, the man concerned disembarked the flight as any normal passenger would.
The victim was reportedly disappointed with the way crew handled this entire situation – according to her there were other empty seats in the first class which could have been offered to her, but no one took any efforts.
Response by aviation regulator DGCA
The Indian aviation regulator DGCA has now questioned the airline and the crew for handling the situation in an unprofessional way which led to a failure: “The conduct of the concerned airline appears to be unprofessional and has led to a systemic failure.”
“Prima facie it lacks appreciation of regulatory obligations as described in applicable Aircraft Rules 1937, Civil Aviation Requirements on ‘Handling of Unruly Passengers’, Cabin Safety Circular, Air India Operations Manual, Air India Safety and Emergency Procedure Manual and Air India Quick Reference Handbook and is devoid of empathy.”
“In view of this, DGCA has issued Show Cause notices to Accountable Manager of M/s Air India, Director in-flight Services of M/s Air India, all the pilots and cabin crew members of that flight as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations.”
“However, to meet the ends of justice, they have been given two weeks’ time to submit their reply to DGCA and based on that further action will be taken,” the DGCA said in a statement.
In keeping with the DGCA statement, cabin crew are responsible for the safety of passengers and when such incident happens, one of the actions by crew must be to make sure the passenger is completely fine, and immediately inform the captain who should in turn have alerted the ATC.
Under no circumstances should such passenger be allowed to disembark the aircraft without the authorities present.
The local Police authority in Delhi have formed teams to trace the culprit from Mumbai, and are reported to be filling case against the airline as well, as they failed to report the incident soon after arrival at Delhi International Airport.
Air India has said that they are co-operating with the authorities and have banned the accused from flying with Air India for the next 30 days and has requested aviation authorities to put him on “No-Fly list”.